Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Mansfield Park: Read-Along: Week 1



This is our first discussion of MANSFIELD PARK. If you are participating head on over to Amber's blog SEASONS OF HUMILITY and check out her post. Here are my thoughts and observations and such on the first 12 chapters we have read.

Favorite Quotes:

"You are thinking of your sons-but do not you know that, of all things upon earth, that is the least likely to happen, brought up as they would be, always together like brothers and sisters? It is morally impossible. I never knew an instance of it." Oh Mrs. Norris...such a know-it-all and really knowing very little of others' feelings. 

" I will engage to get the child to Mansfield; you shall have no trouble about it. My own trouble, you know, I never regard. I will send Nanny to London on purpose, and she may have a bed at her cousin the saddler's, and the child be appointed to meet her there. They may easily get her from Portsmouth to town by the coach, under the care of any creditable person that may chance to be going." Yes, no trouble to anyone except Nanny, Nanny's cousin, and anyone else that will have to be responsible for Fanny except for the one person that never worries about her own troubles! Oh goodness this woman exasperates me!

"Her brother was not handsome: no, when they first saw him he was absolutely plain, black and plain; but still he was the gentleman, with a pleasing address. The second meeting proved him not so very plain: he was plain, to be sure, but then he had so much countenance, and his teeth were so good, and he was so well made, that one soon forgot he was plain; and after a third interview, after dining in company with him at the Parsonage, he was no longer allowed to be called so by anybody. He was, in fact, the most agreeable young man the sisters had ever known, and they were equally delighted with him." Apparently Mr. Crawford improves with visits which totally cracked me up!

"For what is to be done in the church? Men love to distinguish themselves, and in either of the other lines distinction may be gained, but not in the church. A clergyman is nothing." Oh Miss Crawford, tread lightly here! And Edmund better run from this girl!

"A clergyman hs nothing to do but be slovenly and selfish-read the newspaper, watch the weather, and quarrel with his wife. His curate does all the work, and the business of his own life is to dine."Goodness Miss Crawford has quite to lowly opinion of clergymen! Either she is ignorant about them or has run into some pretty poor ones!

SOME CHARACTER OBSERVATIONS:

Mrs. Norris obviously drives me nuts. She wants to orchestrate everyone's lives and be a busybody all with little effort put out on her part. But she'll take the credit for sure! ha!

Fanny just doesn't seem heroine type material to me. She seems sickly and frail and of course being a dependent on relations puts her pretty low in the family. She does have a bit of pluck when she defends Edmund's taking orders. She also seems to enjoy little pleasures and niceties that people(Especially Edmund) bestow on her. She understands her place and keeps it very well.

Edmund can be commended for taking notice of Fanny and becoming her hero in a sense. His care of her is admirable. I think he lacks some sense though in getting involved with Miss Crawford. And if he can't see where this is going then he's pretty slow! She has no desire to connect with a clergyman. I don't think he'll ever convince her and she will hopefully not convince him to give up his clergyman-ship.

Nobody else has really stood out in the story for me. I have read it before, but I can't remember what happens. I can't seem to keep the sisters straight. I think Mr. Crawford is a playboy as well as Edmund's older brother. Fanny's aunt that she is living with seems to just loll around with her stupid dog and expect Fanny to wait on her hand a foot. Ugh! So to wrap up, I'm not quite taken with MANSFIELD PARK and am hoping that it gets better as it moves along.

QUESTIONS FROM AMBER'S BLOG:

1. Would you consider the Bertram family taking in Fanny to be a kindness in the long run? If so, why? If not, could it have been a kindness if they approached things differently? Honestly they probably would have been better off supporting the family monetarily on a monthly basis or maybe some kind of allowance. But to take Fanny away from her family and bring her to a home without love and no station in life is kind of cruel. And if they insisted on taking Fanny then Fanny should have been brought up an equal to the other two daughters in the family. They could have shown her love and not treated her as a little above a servant.

2. If you were a governess teaching the Bertram children and Fanny, what lesson would you specifically choose for each of them (as kids or adults)? Feel free to have fun with this!I'd never had enough patience to be a governess! I'd have to get a job as a charwoman in the kitchen! ha! They all seem to need a lesson on caring for others and not themselves. They aren't even loyal to each other-one sister envying the other for her beau. 

3. Imagine you had joined the group on their visit to Sotherton. Which part of the tour would you most have enjoyed? Would we find you wandering the halls or meandering through the wilderness?Surprisingly I would rather tour the wilderness. I am not much for the outdoors, but I wouldn't have minded finding a bench under a tree in the shade in the middle of the wilderness and sat there by myself for hours...Fanny needs to start carrying around a book to read for those moments of being abandoned! ha!

There is this week's discussion and observations. If you have read MANSFIELD PARK feel free to jump in and leave your thoughts and opinions on the book. Come back next week when we discuss chapters 13-24! Looking forward to seeing what transpires next!





5 comments:

  1. Great post, Julie! Your thoughts about Mrs. Norris are priceless. ;) She really is a character...and not a very thoughtful one!

    I enjoyed the quotes you picked out and your commentary. :) That first one definitely feels like an instance of dramatic irony... As the reader, you're like, "Yep, now it's going to happen for sure!" LOL

    I agree with what you said about Fanny knowing her place and sticking to it. Great point! I think you're right that so far she doesn't seem like heroine material...but she seems to have a good heart, and I hope she'll grow as the story unfolds.

    I so agree about how Fanny should have been raised as an equal if she was going to be taken from her home and made to live with the Bertrams. This line makes me sad: "Without depressing her spirits too far, to make her remember that she is not a Miss Bertram. I should wish to see them very good friends, and would, on no account, authorise in my girls the smallest degree of arrogance towards their relation; but still they cannot be equals." So tragic to set out with that mindset when practically adopting Fanny! :(

    And yes, Fanny should totally start carrying a book around with her, haha! Poor girl, left alone on the bench for so long... A book would have helped, for sure. :)

    So good to be discussing the start of another Jane Austen book with you!

    ~Amber

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    1. I love that, "Dramatic irony" RIGHT?! Yep, it's going to happen!

      Yes, Fanny does have a good heart for sure. She is so much more suited to a clergyman's wife that Miss Crawford ever would be. Edmund needs to get his act together!

      That quote! "On no account, authorise in my girls the smallest degree of arrogance towards their relation; but still they cannot be equals." Oh the ignorance! And arrogance. She has no clue that what she is doing is setting her daughters up to be just that...arrogant. Too bad for Fanny.

      I love our discussions! Looking forward to seeing what others are going to be thinking of the book.

      Thanks so much Amber for stopping by!

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  2. Lovely post, Julie! I agree; this family is crazy! They're just too self-centered to get anything accomplished properly. I do feel sorry for Fanny; it's as though she doesn't have anywhere to fit in...

    Totally agree about spending time outside with a book at Sotherton! Fanny would be MUCH better off doing that than spending time with her relatives.

    So looking forward to reading your thoughts on the next set of chapters! Happy reading! :-)

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  3. What a great analysis of the story so far! I totally agree with you about Mrs. Norris. She's equally hilarious and frustrating!!!

    I know what you mean about Fanny not quite being heroine material.... but, I also have to remind myself that "everyone is the hero of their own story", so perhaps we'll really be rooting for her by story's end.

    If you want, you can see my thoughts here: https://thegreenmockingbird.wordpress.com/2018/01/14/mansfield-park-read-along-week-1-thoughts/

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  4. Mrs. Norris... she is so annoying! Doesn't she know other people have thoughts as well?

    Very good quotes that you picked!!

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