The Importance of Fanny Price

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In Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park, Austen develops a more apparent social commentating tone compared to her other works. Mansfield Park represents England during the imperial age and Sir Thomas Bertram, the owner of the park, symbolizes of the necessity of the colonies to maintain the smooth management of England (Said 87). When Sir Thomas leaves Mansfield Park to visit his colonies in Antigua, his home enters into disarray when Tom Bertram introduces new ideas into the home, such as putting on a play. Austen reveals her own discomfort of the new commercialized society with her character Fanny Price, who Austen has “the satisfaction of knowing [my Fanny] must have been happy in spite of everything” because she marries Edmund (Austen 400). Fanny Price embodies the discomfort Austen feels as seen with Fanny’s relationships with Mr. Henry Crawford, the new consumerist generation, and Mr. Edmund Bertram, the domestic generation. Two opposing characters in Mansfield Park are Edmund Bertram and Henry Crawford both of whom represent opposite values. Austen introduces Edmund as a hero when Fanny cries in self-pity and loneliness, during her first few days, at Mansfield Park. Edmund “in return for such services,” giving Fanny the equipment she needs to write to her dearest brother William, “loved [Edmund] better than anybody in the world except William” (Austen 20). Edmund appears at Mansfield Park, the old English manor, drawing a close connection between him and the countryside. In addition, Edmund shows great kindness to Fanny, which makes him, in her eyes, the traditional rustic hero. On the other hand, Henry Crawford is not from the country with its many pastures; Mr. Crawford is from the commercialized city, London. When Austen prese... ... middle of paper ... .... Mansfield Park reveals Austen’s own fear at a changing society, exposed through the character, Fanny’s inability to choose between Mr. Crawford, commercialized society, and Edmund, conventional society. The novel finishes with Fanny’s marriage to Edmund Bertram, the embodiment of a rural hero, which shows her retreat into the conservative image of England, the countryside, which is what Austen proposes to society. Austen writes Fanny’s marriage to the English country hero, illustrating that she, Austen, does not want society to focus on material gains. Mansfield Park calls for society to return to a pleasanter time, during which consumerism is not a primary aspect of society, but domesticity. Works Cited Austen, Jane. Mansfield Park. New York: Barnes and Noble Classics, 2004. Said, Edward W. Culture and Imperialism. New York: Vintage Books, 1994.
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