By Richard Wirdnam (auth.)
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Additional info for Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
The effect of distancing herself, and the reader, from her fictional characters. Many readers find the ending unsatisfactory. They feel that the elopement has been too deliberately contrived in order to ensure a traditional happy ending. On the other hand, we know enough about the relationship that existed between Henry and Maria to believe that such an outcome was possible if not probable. A reader must judge for himself, in the final analysis, whether the ending is natural or contrived. Virtue is rewarded, folly reproved and vice punished , at least as far as the author isconcemed, although in a rare example of the intrusion of her own religious beliefs, Jane Austen reminds us that we may receive 'a juster appointment hereafter', like Henry Crawford.
Having initially invited Fanny in to shelter from the rain, Mary begins to discover that her visits provide welcome relief from the tedium of the country. Meetings occur regularly, and the two often walk in the Parsonage garden. On such an occasion they are joined by Mrs Grant and Edmund, who is glad to see that they are becoming such good friends. He is in love with Mary, but she still has reservations about marrying a poor country clergyman. Edmund and Fanny prepare to leave, but both are invited to dine at the Parsonage, and Edmund gives a conditional acceptance on Fanny's behalf.
She finds no congenial company in Portsmouth, but gradually comes to perceive good qualities in her sister Susan, settling one cause of continuing irritation by buying Betsey a silver knife of her own. Susan and Fanny begin to spend more time together reading and sewing. Commentary The silver knife is another of the important objects in the novel, tokening a small but significant act of initiative on Fanny's part. She has been taught and improved at Mansfield, but that is not enough. Even if she cannot contemplate reforming Henry through marriage, she can be responsible for her younger sister.
Mansfield Park by Jane Austen by Richard Wirdnam (auth.)