The place of Fanny Price
Posted by Tilde on November 04, 1997 at 08:07:55:
In response to Parking Mansfield Here, & See Who Salutes (-:, written by Ken on November 03, 1997 at 09:48:26
I would dearly love to discuss Fanny and MP with you or any body else, but I have a problem. You ask:
]What is to be the place of Miss Fanny Price?
I don't understand the question. It is probably due to the fact, that english is not my native language, but what do you mean ?
By "place" do you refer to her position (socially, hierachically ?) Do you refer to the position that other characters in the book envisage her to have (present and future) at any point during the book ?
Likewise, I don't understand the following:
] Let me immediately elaborate this by adding that one can also ask, are the Crawfords to have a place at Mansfield, ie, can they be made to fit the Mansfield world or no? These questions are more than idle curiosity; those who have no place in world Mansfield generally come to unsympathetic ends.
Is it just me being a dumb non-native english-speaker, or is something missing in the last sentence ?
(No, I am not pulling a school-marm trick here. I genuinely want to understand what you mean.)
] As a teaser, I would assert that Mary Crawford's fate is foreshadowed early on when she becomes amazed that she cannot hire a cart during the harvest to have her piano moved to the parsonage. She remarks then that she will in time come to understand Mansfield ways, but her own tragedy is that she never does, and w/i the worldview of the novel, this failure damns her completely.
Yeeeees ... and then again, perhaps ... nooo ...
The way I read the book, it seems as if JA does not actually make up her mind until fairly late in the book about who gets who in the end.
She wants to establish Mary Crawford as a young lady of fashion, used to city-life, not country-life. She does so, not by telling us it is so, but by illustrating it. She plays the harp and the piano-forte. She has certain preconceptions, such as the availability of services.
(The run-of-the mill of the people who writes sequels of her books seems never to get the happy knack of showing things to be a certain way, rather than stating them to be so. It is no use stating that your heroine is intelligent, if everything she does opposes that statement).
Had JA decided for the Mary Crawford-Edmund Bertram alliance after all, (and the ensuing FP - Henry Crawford match) this would have been used to illustrate that it is possible to change perceptions and move from city to country and vice-versa. That amor vincit omnia. As it happens, she decides in favour of the comfort of Fanny, and settles her with Edmund in the end.
The change that Mary Crawford undergoes in the course of the novel is rather substantial (for JA at least), since she, in the end, only has one serious reservation about Edmund: his ordination. The way she is portrayed, however, indicates to me, that she would have come to terms with this as well, had JA decided on the double-match, rather than the single match.
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