Friday, April 11, 2008

Mansfield Park

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
The new BBC/PBS movie this winter brainwashed me before I picked up this book for book group. In the film, a specific scene with Mary and Henry Crawford scheming together as they walk toward the Bertram's home in Mansfield Park made it impossible for me to read their characters any other way in the novel, even though there should be some room for interpretation.
Unlike the last few Austens we have read together, this book felt different, possibly because the writer took a decade-long break from writing before pursuing this story, or possibly because of the absense of sisters that had started to seem so familiar in P&P and S&S. Although Northanger Abbey is also a place-name book-title, the Abbey feels like so much more of a character in the story than does Mansfield Park. Fanny Price stands her ground throughout the novel while the world and everyone in it changes around her. When someone in book group wondered if she had backbone, I shared the idea that in a modern world "backbone" may mean fighting back, but in Fanny's world, her backbone (moral strength of character) simply prevented her from being knocked over by the many opinions and influences to which she is subjected.
I read the 1979 paperback I had read in highschool and was surprised to find a truly bizarre photo stuck inside that I must have been using as a bookmark at the time. Plus I read it WAY too quickly for comfort. tsk tsk. Must learn to plan ahead. 370 pages.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home