Jane Austen reduces this English Great House to a confederation of zombies taking tea in the gardens
I just finished my second reading of MP and wow is this good to see! I still don't really like it especially when compared to her other novels (I already reread S&S and P&P this year with the others to come) but there's so much to think about!
I liked your apocalyptic interpretation of Fanny's reaction to the Henry/Maria adultery episode. It expands our understanding of her responses beyond that of social context and of Fanny's distinctive psychology. In my understanding, the apocalyptic runs through the novel. There are at least three judgement days including her last judgement in ch.48. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse also make several appearances. Here and there, you can also find angels, both human and divine.
Despite that, the novel is more about redemption than judgement, about finding hope when the world around you is oppressive and your inner world is at risk of disintegration.
Dear Plain Jane, You are blowing my mind and it's not yet 9 a.m. I love it. Will re-read (your paper, not MP) after a second cup of coffee.
Dear Plain Jane, I agree with your analysis of the slavery issue. I don't think Austen puts any words in her novels accidentally. "Dead silence" are stunning words. I love your description of Fanny as a zombie slayer! With the exception of Pride and Prejudice, I am new to Austen's novels. I have been working my way through her books since the pandemic began and I truly regret not having read them earlier in my life (I am 69 years old). I have read Mansfield Park one time, it is a favorite, and I plan to reread it. I identify with Fanny and love her. I do not understand those people who dislike her - just don't get it. So she is shy, so she cries, but good heavens, look what she does, how smart she is. Are some people threatened by someone who isn't easy "to read"? Fear of the unknown? You say she may have been fooling us all along, but I don't think she has been intentionally fooling us. Maybe Austen is telling us not to be so quick to judge others. I love your letters, Plain Jane, please keep writing! All the best, Joanne
Thanks so much, Stephanie. So glad you got through it unscathed, lol! Rereading Jane Austen is simply the best. Stay in touch!
Thank you for the kind words and insightful response, Joanne!
So true - what's wrong with crying, being shy, and losing your cool? You're right - Fanny is smart and also very much has the courage of her convictions, as is revealed when she stands up to the powerful Sir Thomas. The girl has it goin' on.
How wonderful to hear that you are enjoying the letters and that this one rekindled your interest in this complex novel. That means a lot to me.
Have a beautiful day, hope you get to slay some zombies and ordinary evils today,