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|You are absolutely correct
Written by KatharineW
(10/9/2010 2:15 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Not trying to protect Henry., penned by Rachel G
However, I think my feelings regarding this matter remain unchanged. Considering the quizzing and other cutting remarks Fanny endured from Maria and Julia (the former in particular) Fanny could have (at her breaking point) let Sir Thomas have the full truth regarding his children.
"Your precious Maria cares nothing for her husband and was accepting the attentions of Henry Crawford, who had no business offering them, despite her engagement. Your oldest son lives only for his own aamusement and doesn't care two pins for anything that you say. Edmund is highly enamored of a woman who conspired with her brother to foist an unwanted gift upon me in such a way that made it impossible to refuse . . . "
But Fanny is too afraid to say this, in the anticipation of this response.
"How dare you say such things of my children, of a woman who has paid you singular attentions in the name of friendship. You forget your place in this household. Do not forget that we could also give you to someone else since you clearly have lost your senses---saying such things of your cousins, of me, the man who achieved such preferment for your brother. In future say nothing unless it is to pay a compliment or to make your responses in church."
In someways, Sir Thomas did remind Fanny of her true place in his family. Put yourself in Fanny's place, not forgetting obnoxious Norris, would you have dared to give even the slightest hint of disapproval of those who are your betters.
In terms of power, Fanny has about as much as Chapman or any of the other servants. Since first coming to Mansfield Park, Mrs. Norris has drummed it into Fanny's mind that she is there on sufferance. That she is an inferior being.
That Fanny refrains from telling the truth about Sir Thomas's daughters (and Henry Crawford) is not noblesse oblige, but her only ticket to surviving in that household.
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