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ConnieAnnKirk
Posts: 5,472
Registered: ‎06-14-2007
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Fanny

Here's a question to ponder from the B&N Classics edition (p. 423):
 
"Hiram M. Stanley wrote that he was 'acquainted with no more charming figure in fiction than Fanny; she is so completely, perfectly, deliciously feminine in instinct, feeling, manner, and intelligence, and in every way a most engaging revelation of a budding womanliness.' Lionel Trilling, on the other hand, says that 'nobody' could like the heroine of Mansfield Park.  Who's right?"
 
What do you think?  Is Fanny likable as a character?  Why/why not?
~ConnieAnnKirk




[CAK's books , website.]
Distinguished Wordsmith
Everyman
Posts: 9,216
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Fanny

Admirable, yes. Likable, no.

As Tanner points out, Fanny "exhibits few of the qualities we usually associate with the traditional hero or heroine. We expect them to have vigor and vitality: Fanny is weak and sickly. We look to them for certain venturesomeness or audacity, a bravery, a resilience even a recklessness; but Fanny is timid, silent, unassertive, shrinking and excessively vulnerable. Above all, perhaps, we expect heroes and heroines to be active, rising to opposition, resisting coercion, asserting their own energy; but Fanny is almost totally passive. Indeed, one of the strange aspects of this singular book is that, regarded externally, it is the story of a girl who triumphs by doing nothing. She sits, she waits, she endures [potential spoiler comment excised]."

What is there to love or admire in this?

ConnieK wrote:
Here's a question to ponder from the B&N Classics edition (p. 423):
"Hiram M. Stanley wrote that he was 'acquainted with no more charming figure in fiction than Fanny; she is so completely, perfectly, deliciously feminine in instinct, feeling, manner, and intelligence, and in every way a most engaging revelation of a budding womanliness.' Lionel Trilling, on the other hand, says that 'nobody' could like the heroine of Mansfield Park. Who's right?"
What do you think? Is Fanny likable as a character? Why/why not?



_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
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Laurel
Posts: 5,747
Registered: ‎10-29-2006
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Re: Fanny

I am very fond of Fanny. She has a strong internal life, full of faith, interest in nature, love of good literature, strong principles, strength of character, loyalty, intelligence. I think she is definitely the strongest character in the book, possibly the only strong character. I can only hope that she will shape Edmond's character.



ConnieK wrote:
Here's a question to ponder from the B&N Classics edition (p. 423):
"Hiram M. Stanley wrote that he was 'acquainted with no more charming figure in fiction than Fanny; she is so completely, perfectly, deliciously feminine in instinct, feeling, manner, and intelligence, and in every way a most engaging revelation of a budding womanliness.' Lionel Trilling, on the other hand, says that 'nobody' could like the heroine of Mansfield Park. Who's right?"
What do you think? Is Fanny likable as a character? Why/why not?



"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: Fanny

Wow.

That's about all I can say about that!

Laurel wrote:
I am very fond of Fanny. She has a strong internal life, full of faith, interest in nature, love of good literature, strong principles, strength of character, loyalty, intelligence. I think she is definitely the strongest character in the book, possibly the only strong character. I can only hope that she will shape Edmond's character.



ConnieK wrote:
Here's a question to ponder from the B&N Classics edition (p. 423):
"Hiram M. Stanley wrote that he was 'acquainted with no more charming figure in fiction than Fanny; she is so completely, perfectly, deliciously feminine in instinct, feeling, manner, and intelligence, and in every way a most engaging revelation of a budding womanliness.' Lionel Trilling, on the other hand, says that 'nobody' could like the heroine of Mansfield Park. Who's right?"
What do you think? Is Fanny likable as a character? Why/why not?






_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
Distinguished Bibliophile
dulcinea3
Posts: 4,389
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Fanny

[ Edited ]
And I said 'Wow' before I even read Everyman's reply!  But I certainly understand that everyone forms their own opinions and can come to like a character that others dislike - I actually like Emma, after all, which is not all that common!
 
I see Fanny very differently.  I think that she is one of the weakest personalities in the book.  I won't say the weakest, because there are various peripheral characters who may be weaker.  She does her best to blend into the background, not wanting anyone to notice her or be called upon to participate in anything (although she does seem to enjoy dancing).  I don't think that she is unintelligent, but I think that she is mostly influenced by her cousin Edmund in her way of thinking.  On many topics, she does not find any necessity of forming her own opinion, because she just blindly believes whatever Edmund appears to believe.  This sometimes results in confusion, as when she could not quite reconcile the fact that Edmund decided to act in the play when he had earlier denounced such a scheme.
 
Luckily, in some areas she does form her own opinion and stands up for herself, as with her observation and opinion of Mr. Crawford's attentions to the Bertram girls, and her reaction to Mr. Crawford's suit.  This is one of the few times that I think that, as a reader, I could find some redeeming qualities in her.
 
She really is a kind of anti-heroine.  She observes more than she acts, and she does not generally move the plot forward: other characters do that for her.


Message Edited by dulcinea3 on 05-15-2008 01:36 PM
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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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nvoggesser
Posts: 20
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Fanny

Last night as I was reading, I came to the conclusion that Fanny is like a doll.  She actually would be, in fact, the perfect young lady....seen and not heard, waiting to do what she is told, helping without complaining, speaking (fairly) intelligently when asked, and forever agreeing with her wonderful Edmund.
 
It just seems like the Bertrams got themselves a little breathing Skipper doll (although Skipper is a bit stronger than Fanny).  Dress her up, set her out, move her about, make all of her decisions for her...and you have the perfect companion.
Distinguished Wordsmith
Everyman
Posts: 9,216
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Fanny

Oooh, you're going to hear it from the feminists if you think that's the definition of "the perfect young lady!" :smileyvery-happy:

nvoggesser wrote:
Last night as I was reading, I came to the conclusion that Fanny is like a doll. She actually would be, in fact, the perfect young lady....seen and not heard, waiting to do what she is told, helping without complaining, speaking (fairly) intelligently when asked, and forever agreeing with her wonderful Edmund.
It just seems like the Bertrams got themselves a little breathing Skipper doll (although Skipper is a bit stronger than Fanny). Dress her up, set her out, move her about, make all of her decisions for her...and you have the perfect companion.


_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
Scribe
Laurel
Posts: 5,747
Registered: ‎10-29-2006
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Re: Fanny

Then wyhy didn't she act in the play and marry the rich man?

nvoggesser wrote:
Last night as I was reading, I came to the conclusion that Fanny is like a doll. She actually would be, in fact, the perfect young lady....seen and not heard, waiting to do what she is told, helping without complaining, speaking (fairly) intelligently when asked, and forever agreeing with her wonderful Edmund.
It just seems like the Bertrams got themselves a little breathing Skipper doll (although Skipper is a bit stronger than Fanny). Dress her up, set her out, move her about, make all of her decisions for her...and you have the perfect companion.



"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
Contributor
nvoggesser
Posts: 20
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Fanny

Well...maybe I should have qualified my statement by saying that she is a perfect young lady at the time of Austen's writing of her.  I, myself, if that is today's perfect young lady, am the most imperfect model of young ladyness that there could ever be. 
 
Do I think that Jane Austen liked that depiction of "the perfect young lady?"  Absolutely not...and that's why Fanny is who she is.  She had to write a Fanny who felt she needed to be "perfect" -- because "my Aunt Norris" continually belittles her.  If she ever grows some, uh, ..... OK, I'll be appropriate...if all of these experiences ever add up to her just letting go and forgetting about perfection and just being the real Fanny who writes long letters to her brother and can be strong of will (if not strong of body), then she'll be what she should be....a strong, independent-minded confident young woman. 


Everyman wrote:
Oooh, you're going to hear it from the feminists if you think that's the definition of "the perfect young lady!" :smileyvery-happy:

nvoggesser wrote:
Last night as I was reading, I came to the conclusion that Fanny is like a doll. She actually would be, in fact, the perfect young lady....seen and not heard, waiting to do what she is told, helping without complaining, speaking (fairly) intelligently when asked, and forever agreeing with her wonderful Edmund.
It just seems like the Bertrams got themselves a little breathing Skipper doll (although Skipper is a bit stronger than Fanny). Dress her up, set her out, move her about, make all of her decisions for her...and you have the perfect companion.





Contributor
nvoggesser
Posts: 20
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Fanny

[ Edited ]
(THIS POST CONTAINS A POSSIBLE SPOILER)
 
Because I see her growing in this story and finally getting some...uh...confidence in herself and finally figuring out that she can have what SHE wants, not what others want.
 
 

Laurel wrote:
Then wyhy didn't she act in the play and marry the rich man?

nvoggesser wrote:
Last night as I was reading, I came to the conclusion that Fanny is like a doll. She actually would be, in fact, the perfect young lady....seen and not heard, waiting to do what she is told, helping without complaining, speaking (fairly) intelligently when asked, and forever agreeing with her wonderful Edmund.
It just seems like the Bertrams got themselves a little breathing Skipper doll (although Skipper is a bit stronger than Fanny). Dress her up, set her out, move her about, make all of her decisions for her...and you have the perfect companion.








Message Edited by nvoggesser on 05-15-2008 08:51 PM
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