Quick Index Board Index Home FAQ Site Map
Written by Barb JA
(10/22/2010 8:28 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, great post - and redemptive power of Fanny?, penned by Karen G
I hadn't thought of redemptive power of Fanny, nor compared it between Sir Thomas and Mrs. Norris. Indeed, I think realizing Fanny was steadfastly in the right was a wake up call for Sir Thomas. Mrs. Norris was never guided by a right motive towards Fanny. I think the novel is full of lessons about right motives, and appearing to be in the right, vs. actually living it.
The realization for Sir Thomas that his daughters appeared to do right in all of their manners, while their true feelings did not quite match was a severe blow.
Yesterday when I was posting about the Beatitudes, I found in the very next chapter of Matthew another pertinent passage to MP. I wondered again if this was very deliberate on Austen's part. It reminded me of Mary and Edmund's conversation in the Sotherton chapel. I always felt Mary had a good point about hypocrisy with Mrs Eleanors and Bridgets starched up into seeming piety.
But Edmund was not wrong when he said "Do you think the minds which are suffered, which are indulged in wanderings in a chapel, would be more collected in a closet?”
It's about the motive I think, not where it is done. Perhaps Maria and Julia are like those Mrs. Bridgets and Mrs. Eleanors. They seem to be doing right on the surface. The Sotherton visit and then the play shows how a group of people who think they are beginnning with natural motives of enjoyment are each guided by their own selfish desires and motives that are careless of others. Yet Fanny stayed true to her principles on each occasion.
I know this is pulling away from your question Karen, but BarbaraB's post also got me thinking too about how Jane Austen's mother thought Fanny was insipid. I started thinking about that. It's probably natural that someone with a daughter with lively wit and humor as Jane would find Fanny insipid. I happen to love Fanny and understand why she calls her My Fanny. I think the Fanny inspires feelings of protection.
But also, I like to occasionally visit the page here at Pemberley where Austen's collections of her family and acquaintances opinions on MP are listed. Did Jane ever do that with any of her other novels? I think she must have been amused by the widely varying opinions about each of the characters and the novel as a whole. If no one could agree at the time of its release about the characters, then I think it's OK that MP inspires such debate over the characters today.
I admit my opinions have changed somewhat even in the 11 years since I first read it, though, I have always loved Fanny.
Anyway, I think it's a real testament to Jane Austen's skill to have created a novel this complex.
On a lighter note, I think there are a couple of humorous touches in the opinions.
I linked the page below.
|Opinions of Mansfield Park|
Groupread is maintained by Myretta with WebBBS 3.21.