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Written by Stephanie
(2/18/2013 12:01 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, PS: One last thing..., penned by Chas
The limits you describe do not stop character growth. Fanny's maturity is forced to take an interior expansion, based on her being a watcher, rather than a leader, but it is there. She sees, more clearly than she sometimes wants to, more about all the others than she would have were she in the thick of everything.
As it is, the only 'thick of it' that she inhabits is her own high emotion. She is a teenager, trying not to be, and I am sometimes torn between being amused and being vicariously hurt by watching her struggle -- emotion vs. reason, religion vs. enjoyment, generosity vs. selfishness.
When Elinor in S&S describes the active reasonings she must employ to conquer her expectations of Edward, I imagine she went through what we witness Fanny going through, trying to conquer her affections for Edmund. With Fanny we see it, with all its variations, with all its runaway wishes reined in, with every circumstance that alternately comforts her and torments her.
By the end, Fanny has gone through a fabulous metamorphosis, and we witnessed every step of it.
As for the grateful, rational, generous, introverted Fanny becoming the exact opposite, a personality-twin of Mrs. Norris, I can not imagine it. Mansfield Park is written so clearly, implying other, more optimistic possibilities, that one would have to re-write it totally, re-write Fanny totally, to see it end as you suggest it might. I see no clues that point that way.
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