Okay. Semester is almost done so you will soon no longer have to read my thoughts on Austen and how confuddled they sometimes make me feel. Just a few more…
Mansfield Park is not my favorite of Austen. I know the values hidden underneath are important, and I know that I should be less critical of Fanny Price, but I still find myself being hard on her.
She is just so utterly passive the first two thirds of the novel that sometimes I cannot stand her. I cannot stand the way she is so utterly devoted to her morals—and the way she simply lets Edmund shape her every thought. She just stands by as Mary Crawford takes her man and does nothing about it at all. Even at the end, *spoiler* she wins him over by default.
It was really hard for me to read this book, because somewhere in the middle of the novel, I realized I was more like Fanny than I ever wanted to be. I am quiet. I am an observer. I don’t like to express my opinions unless someone asks for them. When I read the passage of Fanny describing her room in the attic, surrounding herself with faux memories in order to distance herself from her real life, I saw so much of myself in her it almost made me feel a little ill.
I would like to think I am more of a Lizzy Bennet than a Fanny Price, that I would be able to voice my opinions to Lady Catherine De Bourgh with no shame. And maybe I would if I was confronted with that situation. I would like to think I was more of an Elinor Dashwood, who keeps things to herself, but it’s because she is strong—more than being passive.
But I think the reason we are still able to connect with Fanny on some level is that there is always a part of us that can relate to her. We all want to be a Lizzy. But every now and then, I’m sure we can all admit that we have just wanted to disappear like Fanny.
What do you think? Which Austen character do you relate to the most?
P.S. I am having a Shakespeare’s Lady giveaway on Goodreads! Enter to win a free copy.