21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
a heroine of depth,
By A Customer
This review is from: Mansfield Park (Penguin Popular Classics) (Paperback)
I'm quite amazed at the absolute loathing Fanny Price awakens in so many readers - why do people despise the one truly virtuous character, describe her as weak, insipid, boring and all the rest, whereas Maria and Julia, snooty, self-absorbed, conceited bitches who consistently treat Fanny as a doormat, are deemed interesting? Why is virtue so suspicious to modern readers? Why do we prefer sparkling froth (Mary Crawford) to quiet depth (Fanny)? As reviewer Sartoruia states, Fanny has her reasons for being the way she is - quiet, shy, humble, sincere. Why do readers hate these qualities, why is there no empathy for Fanny after the way she has been treated? As for Fanny being weak - are these people crazy? Is it weak to resist the enormous pressure that Fanny was up against to marry Henry Crawford? To escape her position of dependency to become a highly respected woman of stature? What a wonderful revenge it would have been to all those who looked down at her previously: Maria, Julia, Mrs Norris! What freedom, at last! And yet Fanny resists: her love for Edmund is stronger. Is this weakness? She does not fall prey to Henry's Casanova charms, as so many society belles have done. Is this weakness? She sees through his character, recognises him for what he is - a frivolous womanizer. (How many modern-day so-called emancipated woman have fallen for such types! ) She has the strength to stand to her own opinions, and upholds her moral strength in spite of her lowly position. I call that admirable! That is genuine self-esteem, not the shallow self-infatuation readers seem to demand in a heroine.. She is not swayed by Henry's professions of eternal love - for someone who has never known a man's - or anybody's - love, who has no hopes of ever winning the man she loves - this is extraordinary. A lesser woman would have been so hungry for love she'd have melted at such devotion! But Fanny knows what she wants, and finally her quiet strength shines through and wins. This novel is a masterpiece, Fanny is wise, strong, deep, Austen's strongest and most interesting heroine by far.
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Initial post: 18 Feb 2008 13:19:17 GMT
Great review. I agree with everything - I loved Fanny. Out of all the books of this period that have gutsy, strong women who stand up for themselves in a time when it wasn't the done thing, I think Fanny is quite possibly the gutsiest of them all. Great heroine.
Posted on 21 Aug 2008 17:07:43 BDT
I really like this review - I find it quite hard to define why Fanny doesn't annoy me - she doesn't, but before reading the book I would never have expected that to be true. The only part I disagree with is that Mary Crawford is 'sparkling froth'. She, like Fanny, stood up for her beliefs, and had she lived today, her views would be considered very measured. I am still unsure whether we were supposed to like her - I think Austen gave her just enough virtue to forgive Edmund's being attracted to her.
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