Ask any Jane Austen fan what their favourite book by the author is and you are most likely to get answers like Pride and Prejudice Emma and in some rare cases Northanger Abbey. Seldom will you hear them say Mansfield Park. This delightful novel is soo underappreciated that it’s almost comic! You dislike Fanny’s life journey because she isn’t as witty as Elizabeth or her life isn’t as eventful as Emma’s? Yes, Fanny is shy and timid and is naturally awkward and who would not be, having been thrown into a whole new world, such as she had never had the opportunity to dwell in before. What do you expect from such a girl?
And despite these little setbacks, she does make a life for herself along the line of her wishes which is MORE than any of us could ever boast of! My last post was about Mrs. Bennet which I enjoyed a lot not only because it gave me an opportunity to read Pride and Prejudice with a special focus on the ‘matchmaker 2000’ but because it also reminded me of Mansfield Park (don’t ask me why!) and I marvelled at how far these two stand on the scale of likeability! Almost as soon as I was done with Mrs. Bennet, I picked Mansfield Park and having read it far too many times, I decided to skim through it for the quotes, lines and phrases which I have adopted in my daily life, more or less. I quote my favourite writers and books in ordinary conversations all the time but there is something different about the characters in Mansfield Park, something different in the way they act and speak and think. Of course I can’t discuss all of it in one post so I will dedicate this one to introduce you to some of my favourite quotes from the book which, I am positive, will urge all those who haven’t deemed it exciting enough to read to give it a chance. I am sure you won’t be disappointed.
- There certainly are not so many men of large fortune in the world as there are pretty women to deserve them.
– Jane Austen, Mansfield Park I like to remark on Austen’s narrative comments in any novel since she’s always SMASHIN’ it! 😁 Here, she is taking a shot at the practice of only marrying for money and the idea that only pretty women deserve wealth, both at the same time. With a single sentence.
*clap* *clap* *clap*
- ‘I am of a cautious temper and unwilling to risk my happiness in a hurry.’
– Henry Crawford, Mansfield Park
I never disliked Henry in the novel. Not like I did Mr. Wickham but THAT’S another story! Henry Crawford has his share of wit and charm which makes him a delightful character and here especially. Because people are so desperate for happiness and love and so drenched in their desire to be validated in the eyes of society that they pounce on a mere flicker of hope and cling to it like crazy. That is what Henry is advising against and for that I applaud him. I like to remind myself of this little gem time and time again.
- ‘I can never be important to any one.’
‘What is to prevent you?’
‘Everything – my situation – my foolishness and awkwardness.’
– Fanny and Edmund, Mansfield Park
This is one of the earliest discourse between them and when I read it, I was sure I could always relate to Fanny, at some level at least. Who among us haven’t known all those fears as she just described?
- He was in love, very much in love; and it was a love which, operating on an active, sanguine spirit, of more warmth than delicacy, made her affection appear of greater consequence, because it was withheld, and determined him to have the glory, as well as the felicity of forcing her to love him.
– Jane Austen, Mansfield Park
There. Jane Austen is providing us with very reason why men behave the way they do after they have been rejected by a woman. The reason why they fancy themselves in love with a woman whose feelings are not as invested as their are. the reason why they feel morally obliged to obtain the object of their fancy in such cases, no matter what. And I LOVE her for letting us in on the secret. 🙂
- ‘Fanny! You are killing me!’
‘No man dies of love but on the stage, Mr. Crawford.’
– Fanny and Henry, Mansfield Park
I smiled like an idiot during this exchange of words filled with hope and proud love on the one side and gentle wit and a worldly humour on the other.
- Almost everyone at Mansfield Park has set their minds to persuade Fanny to accept Henry’s proposal. And Lady Bertram took the following approach. She said things about her looking quite a vision at the ball (held in Fanny’s honour) and many other things (quite off the track!!) and then she proposed the following:
‘And I will tell you what, Fanny – which is more than I did for Maria – the next time pug has a litter you shall have a puppy.’
This made my day when I first read the book. I was equally as pleased to find this scene included in the movie as well. I roll with laughter every time I read it!!! I am telling you, there are few books I enjoy re-reading more than I enjoy Mansfield Park.
What about you? Have you read it? What were your favourite scenes? What do you think of Henry? *wiggle* Or are you planning to read it? Let me know in the comments. We’ll chat. 😉