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|Sotherton: The Serious Side
Written by BarbaraB
(9/23/2010 5:20 p.m.)
Some of the lighter aspects of the Sotherton trip have been discussed. This section of the novel is just brimming with religious, political and symbolic meaning and I would like to touch on a few of these items. I'm kind of thinking aloud here so anything is up for questioning.
---Something I noticed on the last group read but did not get to mention was the fact that the characters are divided into three groups of three, of course three being a very significant number religiously. I was wondering if there was any relatable significance to 333.
---The novel, Mansfield Park, reflects the descent of morals in the ruling classes/nobility/aristocracy. The large estates represent England, Mansfield in particular but also Sotherton. There is neglect at Sotherton, in improvements and spiritually. (Mansfield has its own issues but as this is about Southerton, I will not go into those in this post.)
---Characters wondering in the wilderness brings to mind religious events.
---I once took a course in English poets and there was a poem that had a locked gate. Now, while I had a wonderful background in Language Arts throughout public school, there was very little emphasis on symbolism so this course was a struggle for me because we were always being asked questions about this. I love this technique now and think it just the coolest thing but hated it back then. Anyway as you've probably guessed, in one of our homework assignments we were asked to tell the symbolic meaning of the locked gate. I didn't have a clue and was shocked to discover, that within the context of the poem, it stood for the lady's innocence and, and if memory serves me correctly, her loss of it, to put it delicately. Every time I read the Sotherton section, I think of this poem and can't help noticing that this interpretation fits the situation in MP. Then not too long ago I actually read where an author mentioned that the gate represented Maria's innocence. I pondered it further extending the idea. Mr. Rushworth was the one with the key and he should have been the one to open the gate for his fiancee. Instead, Maria chose to circumvent propriety and allow Henry to help her past the gate, even after Fanny's warning of danger.
---Sotherton is used a great deal to emphasize the theme of improvement and change.
I'll stop here. JA has managed to pack so much into this one trip it almost boggles the mind but this is probably enough for one post. :)
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