Fanny is the background to many conversations in the book. This is when the reader gets glimpses into what the other characters in Mansfield Park are like . At Sotherton, Mary approaches the subject of Edmund’s ordination with him and Fanny. In the whole of this conversation, Fanny only speaks once to say one word, “certainly” (87). She says this because Edmund has her convinced about manners which is conduct. This, of course, leads to more of Fanny’s silence while the other two characters continue to discuss the topic of Edmund’s pro...
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...disapproval of the performance.
The silence creates the personalities of the characters. It also shows the reader what the character of a given person is without all the facades he puts on. The reader gets to know Henry as a flirt instead of the perfect beau. Maria turns out to be a woman with lower moral and social standards then should have come from her high class upbringing. Fanny is transformed from just a girl to a patient, smart, but slightly insecure woman. Mansfield Park’s silences give the reader the full spectrum of how people acted. There are the morally correct and incorrect; the confident and the timid; and the true and false essences of the character. The reader gets to learn and infer things about the world of Mansfield Park through these silences and moments of voice.
Austen, Jane. Mansfield Park. New York: Penguin Group, 1966.
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