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ConnieAnnKirk
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Registered: ‎06-14-2007
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Chapters 37 - 48 (Spoilers ok!)

[ Edited ]
For read-a-long sections of the book, Ch. 37-48.  Since this is the last quarter of the novel, spoilers from anywhere in the book are ok to discuss in this thread!


Message Edited by ConnieK on 05-04-2008 01:48 PM
~ConnieAnnKirk




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nvoggesser
Posts: 20
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Chapters 37 - 48 (Spoilers ok!)

I'm done....is anyone else done as well?
 
Things were wrapped up well, but...and maybe this is my own bias coming through...Fanny is OK with being 2nd choice?
 
I guess I get the fact that she's been in love with him for...well, forever...and we aren't honored with actual conversations that they have had after the hullabaloo...but to hear a guy say to your face that there is no one else out there that he could even imagine marrying is pretty harsh.
 
Did anyone else have any idea that the girls (Maria and Julia) were probably up to something being off together for so long with Mr. Rushworth (who it has been obvious that Maria wasn't happy marrying)? 
 
It was SO Mrs. Norris to blame the whole hullabaloo on Fanny....to be honest, one of my first thoughts was..."Well, if Fanny had only....then this whole thing wouldn't have happened!"  But then I got to thinking....if Fanny HAD succumbed to Henry Crawford, I actually think this whole hullabaloo may have happened earlier.  At least in some way.  Maybe not with Maria, but with SOMEONE!  Thank goodness he didn't dig his claws into Susan!
 
It's so hard, sometimes, to get a handle on how life was around 150 years ago.  I can't imagine going to visit someone for 2 - 3 months!  "Fish and Visitors smell after three days!"  I think the same could be said for the Prices...."Fish and RELATIONS smell after three days!"  But I'm glad she did stay for a while...so she could develop that relationship with Susan, so she could see her father acting in a civil manner, so she could show that she is a generous, intelligent, and humble daughter....
 
Anyway...those are just a few of my initial reactions.  I'd love to discuss with anyone else who is ready!!!
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Laurel
Posts: 5,747
Registered: ‎10-29-2006
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Re: Chapters 37 - 48 (Spoilers ok!)

I'm done reading and still reading more. I'll join you down here probably this afternoon.

I think Fanny just sees the Edmund/Mary interlude as a lapse of judgment on Edmund's part; it's the real Edward with whom she has always been in love and who has always loved her. (Can anyone who has read Anna Karenina draw any parallels with the Levin/Kitty thread?) Fanny must also realize that Edmund had to get over thinking of her as a sister.



nvoggesser wrote:
I'm done....is anyone else done as well?
Things were wrapped up well, but...and maybe this is my own bias coming through...Fanny is OK with being 2nd choice?
I guess I get the fact that she's been in love with him for...well, forever...and we aren't honored with actual conversations that they have had after the hullabaloo...but to hear a guy say to your face that there is no one else out there that he could even imagine marrying is pretty harsh.
Did anyone else have any idea that the girls (Maria and Julia) were probably up to something being off together for so long with Mr. Rushworth (who it has been obvious that Maria wasn't happy marrying)?
It was SO Mrs. Norris to blame the whole hullabaloo on Fanny....to be honest, one of my first thoughts was..."Well, if Fanny had only....then this whole thing wouldn't have happened!" But then I got to thinking....if Fanny HAD succumbed to Henry Crawford, I actually think this whole hullabaloo may have happened earlier. At least in some way. Maybe not with Maria, but with SOMEONE! Thank goodness he didn't dig his claws into Susan!
It's so hard, sometimes, to get a handle on how life was around 150 years ago. I can't imagine going to visit someone for 2 - 3 months! "Fish and Visitors smell after three days!" I think the same could be said for the Prices...."Fish and RELATIONS smell after three days!" But I'm glad she did stay for a while...so she could develop that relationship with Susan, so she could see her father acting in a civil manner, so she could show that she is a generous, intelligent, and humble daughter....
Anyway...those are just a few of my initial reactions. I'd love to discuss with anyone else who is ready!!!



"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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dulcinea3
Posts: 4,389
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Chapters 37 - 48 (Spoilers ok!)

I finished up over the weekend.  And last night I finished Lovers' Vows.
 
You know, I think that Henry Crawford really did fall in love with Fanny.  If he still thought her a plaything, to make her fall in love with him and then discard her, he would never have proposed marriage.  He seemed very serious about wanting to marry her.  I think his feelings changed about the time that he saw Fanny and William together.  I suppose that was when she was most open and her personality showed most clearly.  I do believe that he genuinely wanted to help William, both because he liked William and because he thought it would help him with Fanny.  And he was very good to her and her family when he visited them at Portsmouth.  If he had not been serious, then seeing the poverty her family was in would have caused him to turn and leave right away (even though her father was on his best behavior); hanging around would not have been very amusing to him when he could be with his richer friends.  Even when he ran off with Maria, he still had deeper feelings for Fanny:
 
She had lived with him to be reproached as the ruin
of all his happiness in Fanny...

...he went off with her at last, because he could
not help it, regretting Fanny even at the moment,
but regretting her infinitely more when all the bustle of
the intrigue was over, and a very few months had taught him,
by the force of contrast, to place a yet higher value
on the sweetness of her temper, the purity of her mind,
and the excellence of her principles.

...we may fairly consider
a man of sense, like Henry Crawford, to be providing
for himself no small portion of vexation and regret:
vexation that must rise sometimes to self-reproach, and
regret to wretchedness, in having so requited hospitality,
so injured family peace, so forfeited his best, most estimable,
and endeared acquaintance, and so lost the woman whom
he had rationally as well as passionately loved
.
 
Fanny's influence had begun to do him some good in improving his character.  I think that the problem is summed up in the following:
 
Henry Crawford, ruined by early independence and bad
domestic example, indulged in the freaks of a cold-blooded
vanity a little too long.
 
He had simply lived that kind of life too long, and Fanny was not enough to save him from it, even though he fell in love with her and saw her goodness.  This is a warning on Austen's part, I think: don't dig yourself that hole, thinking that later on in life you will be able to climb out - avoid bad habits from the start.
 
I also think that Mary Crawford really fell in love with Edmund.  From the start, she had wanted to fall in love with Tom, as the eldest son, but found herself more impressed with Edmund.  When she found out that he was to be a clergyman, she fought against it, and thought herself decided on the matter.  After she had gone to London, I think she was surprised herself to find that she still wanted Edmund.  In her case, though, it didn't seem as if this love was having much of a salutory influence on her character.  She continued to try to convince him that he should not go into the clergy, or that he should be one of the more worldly clergymen, with a house in London, etc.  And her reaction to her brother's running off with Maria shows that her morals remained unaffected.  I do, however, think that she was genuinely fond of Fanny.
 
I loved what happened to Maria and Mrs. Norris!  They deserved one another, and were where they could no longer irritate the rest of the family.
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Laurel
Posts: 5,747
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Re: Chapters 37 - 48 (Spoilers ok!)

Great post, Dulcinea! I, too, think that Henry surprised himself by falling in love with Fanny and really wanted to marry her. She would be the faithful little wife to come home to at the end of each of his recreational affairs, of course. As for Mary, I don't know. I think she saw marriage as a business venture.

dulcinea3 wrote:
I finished up over the weekend. And last night I finished Lovers' Vows.
You know, I think that Henry Crawford really did fall in love with Fanny. If he still thought her a plaything, to make her fall in love with him and then discard her, he would never have proposed marriage. He seemed very serious about wanting to marry her. I think his feelings changed about the time that he saw Fanny and William together. I suppose that was when she was most open and her personality showed most clearly. I do believe that he genuinely wanted to help William, both because he liked William and because he thought it would help him with Fanny. And he was very good to her and her family when he visited them at Portsmouth. If he had not been serious, then seeing the poverty her family was in would have caused him to turn and leave right away (even though her father was on his best behavior); hanging around would not have been very amusing to him when he could be with his richer friends. Even when he ran off with Maria, he still had deeper feelings for Fanny:
She had lived with him to be reproached as the ruin
of all his happiness in Fanny...

...he went off with her at last, because he could
not help it, regretting Fanny even at the moment,
but regretting her infinitely more when all the bustle of
the intrigue was over, and a very few months had taught him,
by the force of contrast, to place a yet higher value
on the sweetness of her temper, the purity of her mind,
and the excellence of her principles.

...we may fairly consider
a man of sense, like Henry Crawford, to be providing
for himself no small portion of vexation and regret:
vexation that must rise sometimes to self-reproach, and
regret to wretchedness, in having so requited hospitality,
so injured family peace, so forfeited his best, most estimable,
and endeared acquaintance, and so lost the woman whom
he had rationally as well as passionately loved
.
Fanny's influence had begun to do him some good in improving his character. I think that the problem is summed up in the following:
Henry Crawford, ruined by early independence and bad
domestic example, indulged in the freaks of a cold-blooded
vanity a little too long.
He had simply lived that kind of life too long, and Fanny was not enough to save him from it, even though he fell in love with her and saw her goodness. This is a warning on Austen's part, I think: don't dig yourself that hole, thinking that later on in life you will be able to climb out - avoid bad habits from the start.
I also think that Mary Crawford really fell in love with Edmund. From the start, she had wanted to fall in love with Tom, as the eldest son, but found herself more impressed with Edmund. When she found out that he was to be a clergyman, she fought against it, and thought herself decided on the matter. After she had gone to London, I think she was surprised herself to find that she still wanted Edmund. In her case, though, it didn't seem as if this love was having much of a salutory influence on her character. She continued to try to convince him that he should not go into the clergy, or that he should be one of the more worldly clergymen, with a house in London, etc. And her reaction to her brother's running off with Maria shows that her morals remained unaffected. I do, however, think that she was genuinely fond of Fanny.
I loved what happened to Maria and Mrs. Norris! They deserved one another, and were where they could no longer irritate the rest of the family.



"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
Distinguished Wordsmith
Everyman
Posts: 9,216
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Chapters 37 - 48 (Spoilers ok!)

I'll open this idea up to be shot at, and perhaps down, but I find the characters in Mansfield Park not to be up to Austen's overall standard.

Most of them seem more like cardboard cutouts than fully formed characters. Fanny, for example, is NEVER wrong, NEVER does anything bad, is just the absolute perfect in every way, which is unrealistic and, frankly, to me a bit boring.

Edmund is sweet and kind throughout, which is nice in its way but I wish he would at least once demonstrate a bit of fire, maybe even swear once or twice.

Although there is a bit of development in Sir Thomas, as Laurel noted earlier, it's not much, and he and Lady Bertram are basically one-sided characters.

Mrs. Norris is perhaps the most Dickensian of all Austen's characters. She is great comic relief, and helps stir the pot (she adds most of what spice there is to the novel). She's fun to make fun of.

But otherwise, the characters seem too predictable and not particularly interesting. There's nobody in the book I really like.

Of all Austen's novels, this is for me the least successful. Being an Austen it's still very much worth reading, don't get me wrong. But in the end, what is memorable about it; what is its enduring value?

Okay. Let the barbs fly!
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Everyman
Posts: 9,216
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Chapters 37 - 48 (Spoilers ok!)

One of the themes which I don't think comes out of the book at first glance is the town mouse-country mouse element.

Mansfield Park (the property, not the book) is definitely country, though Sir Thomas apparently doesn't derive his income primarily from the estate but from his overseas landholdings (do we ever see him acting as landlord of the home farm which should be under his management?)

The Crawfords, on the other hand, represent London and London amusements. When Mary Crawford is waiting for her harp she is astonished to find that, it being haying season, she can't hire a farmer's cart to fetch it: she says ""I shall understand all your ways in time; but, coming down with the true London maxim, that everything is to be got with money, I was a little embarrassed at first by the sturdy independence of your country customs." (Of course, she never does understand the country ways, does she?) And when she is discussing what is to be done with Thornton Lacey, she displays a total disregard for the importance of the country values: "You talk of giving it the air of a gentleman's residence. That will be done by the removal of the farmyard;..."

In all their activities, the Crawfords seem to represent all that is worst about the London city lifestyle, don't they?

And on top of the MP-London dichotomy we have MF-Portsmouth. Peace, tranquility, cleanliness, quiet, civility on the one hand vs. noise, bustle, perpetual noise and activity, dirt, slovenliness on the other. It is, of course, partly a consequence of wealth, but I think it's more than that.
_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
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dulcinea3
Posts: 4,389
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Chapters 37 - 48 (Spoilers ok!)



Everyman wrote:
I'll open this idea up to be shot at, and perhaps down, but I find the characters in Mansfield Park not to be up to Austen's overall standard.

Most of them seem more like cardboard cutouts than fully formed characters. Fanny, for example, is NEVER wrong, NEVER does anything bad, is just the absolute perfect in every way, which is unrealistic and, frankly, to me a bit boring.

Edmund is sweet and kind throughout, which is nice in its way but I wish he would at least once demonstrate a bit of fire, maybe even swear once or twice.

Although there is a bit of development in Sir Thomas, as Laurel noted earlier, it's not much, and he and Lady Bertram are basically one-sided characters.

Mrs. Norris is perhaps the most Dickensian of all Austen's characters. She is great comic relief, and helps stir the pot (she adds most of what spice there is to the novel). She's fun to make fun of.

But otherwise, the characters seem too predictable and not particularly interesting. There's nobody in the book I really like.

Of all Austen's novels, this is for me the least successful. Being an Austen it's still very much worth reading, don't get me wrong. But in the end, what is memorable about it; what is its enduring value?

Okay. Let the barbs fly!

I completely agree.  Fanny and Edmund are boring, and almost nauseatingly moral.  So is Sir Thomas, actually, during most of the novel.  Strict and humorless.
 
It's kind of sad to have to say that one's favorite character in the book is not one of the main protagonists, but someone who is more in the way of being comic relief, and a nasty person, to boot.  I agree that Mrs. Norris stands out the most for me.
 
I was trying to go over the characters to see which had character development, and there wasn't much to be found. 
 
Sir Thomas does come to see the light a bit better, as a result of the shock of Maria and Julia running off, and his misjudgment of the Crawfords.  Tom apparently changes quite a bit after his serious illness and becomes more responsible.  However, we don't really see these changes so much as that Austen tells us about them; we have seen much of their actions earlier in the novel, before their epiphanies, so we know what they were like.  The main change we witness is Sir Thomas' acceptance of Fanny as Edmund's bride.
 
I would like to say that Fanny develops, but I don't think that she does all that much.  It is inevitable that she should mature from the insecure, scared, painfully shy little girl of ten who arrives at Mansfield Park, but her character does not really change.  She becomes a little less insecure and a little less scared, but she is still both of those things to some extent, and she remains painfully shy.  She does become incrementally more apt to speak out and stand up for herself, but not much.  And she comes to think of Mansfield Park, with its comforts, as home, and finds that she no longer can feel comfortable in her own parents' home.
 
Other than that, does anyone really change?  Maybe Julia is a little bit less flighty once she is married, and Mr. Yates turns out to be not quite so bad as we had imagined.
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Grand Dame of the Land of Oz, Duchess of Fantasia, in the Kingdom of Wordsmithonia; also, Poet Laureate of the Kingdom of Wordsmithonia
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