Saturday, March 6, 2010

Critical Review of Mansfield Park, by Jane Austen

Mansfield Park is a fictional book published by Jane Austen in 1814. It tells the story of Fanny Price and her observations of the true colors of the characters, including her friends, Henry and Mary Crawford, and her cousin, Edmund Bertram. Mane Austen accomplished her purpose for the book in subtly conveying to the reader that not all character flaws are readily recognized.

One of the people subject to observations was Henry Crawford. He was most often regarded as a polished gentleman because he dressed correctly and drove the correct rig. However, in her innocent way, Fanny Price sensed flaws in his character that few would notice. Mr. Crawford showed rebellion in his eagerness for playacting when Mr. Bertram was known to be opposed to it. He also was later proven immoral when he ran off with Fanny's recently married cousin, Maria.

Next to be mentioned is Henry's sister, Mary. At first glance, she seemed to be a lively, young girl whose primary influences had not always been to her betterment. She even, at times, seemed to be particularly kind, friendly, and helpful. However, her true nature was not all so beautiful. She was just as rebellious as Henry, not only in the matter of acting, but also in her attitude toward Christianity. In addition, her willingness to overlook her brother's immorality (not to mention her flirtation with Edmund) cast grave doubts on her own moral character.
Edmund Bertram is the last and most important of Fanny's three friends. He was more of a man than Mr. Crawford was even though he did not drive the fanciest carriage or have the knack for turning every female head in the area. Edmund also treated Fanny better than any of her other relatives did, since he did not always feel it necessary that she remember her place as a poor relation. Another of his many attributes is that he was conscientious in all that he did. He also was a sincere Christian who wanted to do God's will by becoming a clergyman. However, Edmund did have one large fault. He was terribly naive, especially concerning Mary Crawford. He did not see her conniving ways or that her pleasantness to Fanny was only a way to blind him to her true character. His blindness was not permanent, but it might well have been had he not had such high moral character.

The quality I admire most in this book is not the ability Austen had to accomplish what she intended, even though that is quite admirable. I think that Mansfield Park gains the majority
of its value from the fact that it is a realistic portrayal of life. Each of us must be careful in the choice of our friends because villainy can hide behind the brightest smile of them all.


  1. Your blog looks great.

    Our company has been representing authors for the past twenty years.
    We would love to add you to our database to receive press releases from them regarding religious books for review.

    Thank you in advance,

    Ken Eason
    Bostick Communications

  2. Ken Eason,

    I would be happy to review books for Bostick Communications. Thank you for the opportunity.