Fanny Emerges Victorious Essay, Research Paper
FANNY EMERGES VICTORIOUS SIMPLY BECAUSE THE OTHERS FALTER (MARY POOVEY) DO YOU AGREE WITH THIS READING OF FANNY S ROLE IN MANSFIELD PARK
Mansfield Park has sometimes been considered as atypical of Jane Austen as being solemn and moralistic. Poor Fanny Price is brought up at Mansfield Park with her uncle and aunt. Where only her cousin Edmund helps her with the difficulties she suffers from the rest of the family, and from her own fearfulness and timidity. When the sophisticated Crawfords (Henry and Mary) visit the Mansfield neighbourhood, the moral sense of each marriageable member of the Mansfield family is tested in various ways, but Fanny emerges unscathed.
We need to look at the way Austen portrays Fanny Price after the wit and vivacity of her earlier heroines, it is often wondered how Austen could have created such a character as Fanny Price.
Fanny is a Christian heroine who is submissive, physically delicate and all too collusive with the privileged world of Mansfield Park. Having Fanny as the heroine displaces the energy and vitality of Mary Crawford. However Fanny is the heroine of this novel and we have to discover if she is only the heroine due to the fact that all the other characters in the novel falter in some way.
When Fanny comes to Mansfield she is an extremely timid young girl who is afraid of everyone and everything, it is her quiet passive manner that conceals this constant terror that leads to her nightly sobbing.
It is Edmund who unlocks her feelings, he knows that she is clever, has a quick apprehension and a love for reading. He also understands her love for reading, her need to feel important and her capacity to be so. Fanny herself has to learn to have faith in her own good sense and develop the strength to be able to transmit it to others.
From one point of view, Fanny price is an interesting psychological study in the manners and attitudes of her insecure and traumatised personality.
Here is a look at a psychologist reading of Fanny Price:
· She presents a clam, pleasant face to the world
· She is seen as reticent and even shy
· She demonstrates cool reserve towards others, but inside she is anything but distant
· Cares deeply about a few special persons or causes
· Has a profound sense of honour derived from internal values
· She is willing to make unusual sacrifices for someone or something she believes in
· She seeks unity of body, mind and soul
· Has a tragic motif running through her life that the others do not detect
· Shows deep commitment to the good and is always alert for the bad
· Adaptable to new information and ideas
· Well aware of people and their feelings and relates well to most people whilst keeping some psychological distance
· Prefer to live in harmony and she will go to great lengths to avoid constant conflict
· Tends to be compliant, prefers decisions to be made for her until her value system is violated she will not budge from her ideals
It is true that while reading the novel we develop an impatience with Fanny s more censorious or prim judgements. This may be moderated by the history of displacement Jane Austen has provided for Fanny: the years of intimidation she has endured from Mrs Norris and her dependence on Edmund, whose kindness comes with instructions for her of how she should behave.
Fanny has a disapproving attitude towards Mary. We are never sure whether this is due to Fanny s morals or her jealousy of the way Edmund is fixated with her.
As a result of Edmunds coaching, Fanny s moral attitudes in general are over determined, so it is quite easy for us to think of her as modelling a conduct manual .
There are several passages within Mansfield Park where Jane Austen smiles kindly on, our heroines, Fanny Price, foibles thus allowing us to be able to.
Chapter 10 is the first one [during the visit to Sotherton]:
After another pause, he [Mr Rushworth] went on – Pray, Miss Price, are you such a great admirer of this Mr Crawford as some people are? For my part, I can see nothing in him.
I do not think him at all handsome.
Handsome! Nobody can call such an undersized man handsome. He is not five foot nine. I should not wonder if he was not more than five foot eight. I think he is an ill looking fellow. In my opinion, these Crawfords are no addition at all. We did very well without them.
A small sigh escaped Fanny here, and she did not know how to contradict him.
Here Fanny is unable to see the good side of Henry. She quite agrees with Mr Rushworth that Henry is not handsome and that they got along very well without the Crawfords. I do not think Fanny is really concerned about Henry at this point . I believe that she is thinking of the way Edmund is fixated on Mary Crawford.
Fanny believes that the presence of Henry and Mary is what is leading her cousins astray. It is Fanny who sees that Henry is trifling with Maria and Julia and she, as well as Edmund who is scandalised by the sketch of Mary s years at the Admirals house.
Fanny, having been sent into the village on some errand by her aunt Norris, was overtaken by a heavy shower close to the Parsonage ; and being descried from one of the windows endeavouring to find shelter under the branches and lingering leaves of an oak just beyond their premises, was forced, though not without some modest reluctance on her part, to come in. A civil servant she had withstood; but when Dr. Grant himself went out with an umbrella, there was nothing to be done but be very much ashamed, and to get into the house as fast as possible.[ ]
The two sisters were so kind to her, and so pleasant, that Fanny might have enjoyed her visit could she have believed herself not in the way, and have could have foreseen that the weather would certainly clear at the end of the hour, and save her from the shame of having Dr.Grant s carriage and horses out to take her home, with which she was threatened.
Fanny has been sent on an errand when she is caught in a down pour. Whilst she is so close to the parsonage she does not choose to take shelter there believing that she is intruding. Once she is spotted by Dr. Grant she is forced to take refuge there.
Mary Crawford is pleased to see Fanny. The absence of Edmund has allowed for Mary to grow a fond attachment to Fanny.
We know that Fanny is concerned with social morality (her own right and wrong even more than other peoples), and that morality is connected with religion for her – as was usual for the time and place. She also bursts out with a few expressions of na ve enthusiasm for the profession her beloved Edmund is entering into – that of clergy man. However the following is Fanny s one and only statement of specifically religious piety in Mansfield park.
This chapel was fitted up as you see it, in James the second s time. [ ] It is a handsome chapel, and was formerly in constant use both morning and evening. Prayers were always read in it by the domestic chaplain, within the memory of many; but the late Mr Rushworth left it off.
It is a pity, cried fanny, that the custom should have been discontinued. It was a valuable part of former times. There is something in a chapel and chaplain so much in character with a great house, with one s ideas of what such a household should be! A whole family assembling regularly for the purpose of prayer is fine!
Fanny s relationship with Edmund is unswerving. At the beginning it is Fanny who turns to Edmund for comfort and support. Throughout the novel, however, she develops from his confidante to his guide, comforter and friend: his equal.
At the end of the novel Fanny becomes Edmund s wife but it is not until she overcomes her own faults, whilst retaining the positive side of her nature , that she can take her rightful place as mistress of Mansfield Parsonage.
Looking at the character of Edmund we see, with amazement, Edmund turning unreasonable and thoughtless under the influence of Mary Crawford. Edmund discounts Fanny s worries about Maria, Julia and Henry Crawford and he allows himself to be talked into taking part in the theatricals to please Miss Crawford. Despite all of these temptations, Edmund does not allow himself to lose sight of his duty as a clergyman.
Mary Crawford is sparkling, lively, charming and witty, however, she possesses a ruthless determination to be able to dominate. Mary is under the belief that what she cannot charm she can buy.
She is disillusioned when she realises that she has not been able to charm Edmund to alter his determination to be a clergyman thus making her angry and vengeful. Fanny is the only one who sees a mind led astray, and bewildered, and without any suspicion of being so; darkened yet fancying itself light .
As the relationship, between Edmund and Mary, develops, she becomes more outspoken, more irreverent. Edmund tries to educate and elevate her, she becomes more unyielding, more worldly, more corrupt and eventually betrays her amorality through her attitude to the elopement.
Henry Crawford likes a challenge and pursues Maria only because she is about to be married to Mr Rushworth. Henry has no respect for women, he practically destroys Maria s happiness. His perseverance in pursuit of Fanny which Sir Thomas finds so impressive is not constancy, but merely an assertion of his vanity, which refuses to accept that his charm has failed.
Behind his numerous superficial graces, we are always aware of he corrupt cynicism that allows him to oust and cuckold Mr Rushworth, to trifle with Maria and Julia and to destroy the customary peace of Mansfield Park.
Maria s flirtatious exchanges with Mr Crawford are brief but very intense.
Her intolerance of restriction is her most distinctive trait.
Maria is a finished product of society but she has no understanding of its duties. Having agreed to marry Mr Rushworth, simply because he is the most eligible man in their society, she does not have the integrity to go through with it.
Her education has taught her only the superficialities of life, without the duty, discipline or decorum that is its backbone.
Her relationship with Henry Crawford is considered serious enough to get into the newspapers. Adultery was not treat lightly at this time. Divorce however was legal but still Sir Thomas could not condone what Maria has done and will not allow her to return to local society.
Julia has received the same education as Maria that is directed towards accomplishments rather that morals. It is believe that it is a combination of things which allow Julia to run a way with Mr Yates: her fathers strictness, Mrs Norris s indulgence and the prospect of increased restrictions at home after Maria s elopement. However, her part in her own affair with Mr Yates is a passive one, though a girl with steadfast moral purpose would not have yielded.
Julia and Maria are both very selfish, being too bound up in their own pleasure to return home to comfort Lady Bertram during Tom s illness.
I believe that Fanny emerges victorious due to her own morals. She is the one who does not give in to temptation and the one who knows the difference between right and wrong.
However, I believe that the others falter, mainly, because of their upbringing. Henry and Mary were brought up with their uncle, the admiral, and his wife and when the uncles wife died he moved his mistress in with him. It becomes obvious that the uncle and aunt failed to install any morals into the two they were responsible for.
Maria and Julia had an education which was entirely deficient in the less common acquirements of self knowledge, generosity and humility.
The parents of Maria and Julia do not have much to do with their upbringing. Sir Thomas spends long spells away from the house on business trip to Antigua. Lady Bertram in he indolence abdicates the role of mistress of the house and of mother allowing Mrs Norris to have far too large a hand in the upbringing of the two girls.
I agree that Fanny emerges victorious because of the fact that the others falter but not simply because the others falter. Fanny grows as a person throughout the novel she stands up for the things that she believes in, which is an admirable quality in anyone.
Fanny aspires to be someone we could never have believed she could be at the beginning of the novel.
Fanny emerges victorious partly because the others falter but also because she is such a strong person and is not easily swayed to do something that she does not believe in.