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|A thorough and well-reasoned view of a . . .
Written by KatharineW
(10/7/2010 9:42 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, A woman of spirit., penned by Rachel G
. . . fascinating character. Mary Crawford is indeed a multi-faceted, seemingly very real person. At first glance she appears to be one of those gilded creatures for whom life is a series of parties and other pleasant events. It never rains on their picnics and ants would not dare to trespass.
This is not Mary Crawford. Her mother's death (after that of her father) placed her in the home of an uncle who, in true Regency style, begins keeping his mistress in his house. I can imagine that Mary, like many who are faced with an unpleasant home life, spends as much as time as possible with friends and acquaintances. Lady Stornway (sp?) and others whose morals are not that much better than the Admiral's, but who probably wear the face of propriety even if they have it not in truth.
Mary does her best to "fall in love" with the eldest son who will one day inherit all of Mansfield Park. She tries and fails. This is not because she isn't personable, witty, and attractive. It is because Tom is a clueless lunkhead who prefers the races, cards, drinking parties, and hunting with his equally aimless pals.
Inspite of herself Mary is drawn to the younger son, and ohh Nelly, she is once again thwarted. Edmund is everything she is not: serious, reflective, moralistic (he actually tries to live by ethical rules rather that merely giving lip-service to them), and intent on being ordained then making his career in the church.
As Mary is frustrated time and again, we see her failing to get what she wants. For every victory, there are at least two setbacks. Yes, Edmund finally agrees to act in "Lovers' Vows." Then he proceeds to make good his plans for ordination and a future life at Thorton Lacey.
Mary takes these blows and keeps smiling. She is truly a woman of spirit, playing the game for all she is worth---only it's not the game she thinks it is, and she's playing by the wrong rules.
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