Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

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At the start of Mansfield Park Fanny arrives at Mansfield. Fanny stands out from those who live at Mansfield. She is much more humble and less arrogant than her relatives. Fanny is, all in all, a simple girl. As the story goes on, however, the reader gets a glimpse of exactly how Fanny has changed when she goes back to visit her family. Before encountering this look of Fanny's family and her life at Portsmouth, it is clear that her time at Mansfield has changed Fanny, and not for the better. In Volume III, Chapter VIII, the entire chapter is made up of narrative, as opposed to any type of scene or dialogue. Through this narrative Austen sets up a theme, which can be seen at the start of the chapter. The theme is Fanny's growth, both good and bad, as a character. ”Nothing was in their right place,” claims Fanny, “nothing was done as it ought to be” (361). With this one sentence, the reader can see a big difference between the current Fanny and the one at the beginning. For example, at the start of the book Fanny is treated poorly, especially by Mrs. Norris (14). Fanny, however, does not respond with ill contempt. Instead, she carries it all inside, acting polite and taking it in stride despite how much the others' actions affect her (15). This attitude, however, greatly differs from how Fanny is treating her family. She speaks about them as if they are below her. “She could not”, she continues, “respect her parents, as she had hoped” (361). Looking at these two lines, Fanny can not respect her immediate family because they are without order. This thought process is the same as those at Mansfield held. Those at Mansfield treated her as if she were a simple commoner. Having grown accustomed to her life style, she has begun to think... ... middle of paper ... ...r parents, especially her mother, cannot contain most of their attention on her as an insult. In the end, Fanny is not only centered but illogical. She expects her parents, upon her return, to place most of their attention on her. Considering the situation, however, this is a ridiculous expectation. Her family is made up of eleven people, and the only person not present when she returns is William. It is illogical of Fanny to think she is the only one deserving of her parents' attention when they have seven other children to look after. Fanny's expectations are high and inconceivable, doomed for failure. Fanny has nobody to blame but herself for her bitterness. She aims too high and, as a result, the fall down is more painful than it would have been had she made smaller expectations. Works Cited Austen, Jane. Mansfield Park. New York: Penguin Books, 2003. Print.
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