POOR MANSFIELD PARK.
It is definitely the most 'ignored' and 'underrated' of the six major works of Jane Austen. It is often the last on the list when people list all the novels, and it is often kind of... forgotten.
I have to say, first and for all, that, I have to agree, Manfield Park is not my favourite Jane Austen novel either. I'm not passionate about it. For this reason, this post won't be HEFTILY DEFENSIVE. Like, I won't use a disastrous amount of caps. (I bet you're happy to hear that.) The reasons why I don't love Mansfield Park as much as Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Emma and Northanger Abbey is because 1. I think Mansfield Park does lack some 'engaging-ness', 2. Now and then there is a bit of an Elsie Dinsmore vibe. You know what I mean? and 3. I don't relate to Fanny Price fully. Also, I don't have a good movie to match. :-/
But this doesn't mean I don't like Mansfield Park. I still REALLY like it. I love it - I love Edmund and Fanny - even though I don't really relate to her, I LOVE her - she's such a sweet-heart, and she really is underrated.
Now I've said THAT, I can start defending this darling novel.
The pictures in the post are pictures of how I want the New Mansfield Park Movie to be like. I reaaally want a new version. There has to be a new version. BAAADLY.
|This is what Edmund and Fanny should look like. This is 100% how I imagine them. :-)|
- On the Actual Story -
Oh, and the things in bold are actual things people say in 1 star Goodreads reviews. I'm not bashing these people, I'm just gonna defend. That's what I'm here for. :-D
"It's boring; nothing happens."
"It's frustratingly dull."
"Plotless."I think it's true that Mansfield Park isn't as engaging as some of Jane Austen's other novels. It can be rather slow-paced, I agree. But it's really not that bad - the story really is NOT boring. There's plenty of stuff going on.
The story, if you think about it, is really almost fairy-tale-ish. Not exactly Cinderella, of course, but slightly. We have this girl from a large poor-ish family who goes off to live with her cousins and aunt. She's shy; she's introverted; she's seems a bit sickly, even; she has to be a good girl; she depends on them. Her 'new family' isn't exactly the warmest welcoming family in the world, and someone of the name of Mrs Norris is especially mean. But then there's the nice tall cousin, named Edmund, who helps Fanny feel at home. (This is why I love Edmund. He's so kind to everyone, even as a boy.)
Then the Crawfords come and kind of bash into Fanny's not-so-perfect-but-still-okay life. Mary is a pretty brunette and dazzles Edmund, who Fanny has quietly fallen in love with. Then we have all kinds of love triangles of all sizes sizzling around in Mansfield Park. It's like a puzzle. I love it - I always want to know which character will actually end up with who. There are plenty of possibilities, because characters develop throughout the story, and perspectives change.THINGS DEFINITELY HAPPEN. Hello. Definitely.
The writing style may be slightly slower than in some of Jane Austen's other novels, but AHEM things most certainly do happen. Seriously? Plotless? :-D
|Look how PERFECT Georgiana Darcy in "Death Comes to Pemberly" would be as Fanny. :-D|
- On Fanny Price -
"Fanny Price hardly says a word - It's impossible to be interested in her."
"Fanny doesn't seem to have a thought in her head that wasn't put in by Edmund."
"Fanny Price is terribly dull."
"Fanny Price is no Elizabeth Bennet."
These commentaries are almost painful to read, people. :-P As I said earlier, I cannot fully relate to Fanny Price. I consider myself an introvert in some ways (for example, I loathe big crowds) but I don't find myself relating to Fanny on a very personal level. (I'm not shy. I'm not such a sweet-heart, heehee.) But I still really love Fanny I'm so ready for my defence.
No, Fanny Price is no Elizabeth Bennet.
*SNORT* Of COURSE not. (If you want all the characters Jane Austen makes to be like Elizabeth Bennet, that would be boring.) This is the whole point, guys - Fanny Price is NOT like Elizabeth Bennet. No, she is NOT super witty and active. No, she is not open - she leaves a lot of things for herself. She doesn't shout and run around wildly - the book mentions that she get's tired quickly (I'm thinking maybe she has/had some illness once?) - Yes, she is shy and introverted. That's who she is. She isn't the kind of person who can tell people things easily. That's her character.
But that doesn't mean she's boring. Or dull. Or uninteresting. Or silly. Or stupid. NO MA'AM.
Fanny says what she thinks too - she does stand up for herself - especially as the novel progresses and when she refuses Henry Crawfords offer. She's humble and afraid to hurt people's feelings - but that's a good thing; that's amazing and sweet. I love Fanny Price. She deserves so much and she's so happy with little things. And so in love with Edmund - ohh, when she gets his letter and chain and re-reads the first four words over and over again. "My very dear Fanny."
I get that people don't relate to Fanny. But really, she's a sweet-heart. SUCH a darling.
I get that people don't relate to Fanny. But really, she's a sweet-heart. SUCH a darling.
I'd like to end this with a snippet of a comment Jessica Prescott, one of my lovely commenters, once wrote to me. Because what she writes I agree with. Strongly, and all that. :-D
I think the person I feel most sorry for in period drama is Fanny Price, actually, because she has SUCH a horrible time with her family. She's the kind of person who wants nothing more than to always do the right thing and please everybody, and yet she's constantly being criticized and told she's doing everything wrong by her relatives--particularly that awful, awful Aunt Norris. (I cannot express in words how much I LOATHE that woman.) It really hurts me to read about because I'm actually a lot like her myself--criticism and conflict really hurt. And then so many Austen readers criticize poor Fanny for being a "doormat," etc. But what they don't ever realize is, the reason she IS so meek and shy and timid is that she's taken so much verbal abuse for years and years, ever since she was 10. That sort of thing DOES have a real psychological effect, peoples. :)
|LOOK HOW PERFECT HE WOULD BE AS EDMUND. AHHH.|
- On Edmund Bertram -
"Edmund is stupid."
"Fanny does not deserve Edmund."
Okay, here's the thing. LOADS of people don't like Edmund Bertram. I think he's perhaps even more underrated than Fanny Price herself! And people don't even bother defending him - so let me be the first to do so. :-)
It's the same kind of case as Roger Hamely in Wives and Daughters. A young man - a younger brother - a kind person who loves a young girl like an older brother. Then a pretty, witty lady comes along and he fancies himself in love. Look; when Elizabeth fancies herself in love with Wickham, we don't mind. When Marianne declares herself VIOLENTLY in love with Whilloughby, oh, we're fine. And Edward Ferras was engaged to Lucy! We don't mind that. But when Edmund Bertram crushes on Mary Bertram, we're all furious and declare that, when he feels sorry for it, Fanny does not deserve Edmund.
I agree, it annoys me that Edmund has his Mary-phase. And yes, it's annoying that Edmund actually tells Fanny to be with Henry. But he realises it's a mistake; and he feels sorry for it. Just like Roger Hamely did.
Edmund, I think, is an amazingly lovely man. Even as a boy, he's the only one in a somewhat cold household that really makes friend with his small and shy cousin. He's cheerful, enthusiastic, very positive. He's cares for people, and puts himself last. He's a great gentleman, and I can really see him being an amazing husband for Fanny. Fanny loves him to bits, so that must mean something, right? :-)
(And for you guys who are completely weirded out by the fact that Edmund and Fanny are COUSINS and get married - in that time period it was dead normal. In fact, it was very much advised and applauded. Mr Darcy was matched up with Anne de Bourgh his whole entire childhood and more, and they were cousins too. (Thank goodness that never worked out.))
|I'm still not sure about Lily James as Mary Crawford, but she definitely captures the sparkly brunette-ness. :-D|
- On the Other Characters -
"All the characters are a bunch of cardboard cutouts."
*Coughs Politely* I don't think Mary and Henry Crawford are exactly 'boring.' They're not even quiet. Mary Crawford can be hilarious. Her 'A Watch is always to quick or too slow' quote is an example of her wittiness. Henry Crawford is annoying, but not a cardboard cutout. He does too much, he does.
Ahem. Sorry dear. No. Not Cardboard Cutouts.
|This cover though. :-(|
There you go. :-) Although this isn't my favourite Austen novel, I do think it needs some more love. Also Fanny Price. Why do people hate the poor girl?!! :-( AND EDMUND. TEAM EDMUND.
Have you read Mansfield Park?
What do you think of it?