Mansfield Park was published in 1813 and is known as Jane Austen’s most controversial and perhaps least liked novel of them all. Many are critical of the main character Fanny’s timidity and disapproval of the theatrical production put on and enjoyed by many of the other characters. It is true it is hard to sympathize with such a character, but I think perhaps those aspects of her are exaggerated to show how far she comes at the end of the novel. I would have preferred Fanny to stand up for what she wanted instead of fretting and riding it out to see what would happen- but luckily she is the heroine and it all works out in the end. Although on the other hand the expected ‘happy ending’ comes about (after Edmund becomes emotionally available) because of the positive aspects of her character.
* As a side note, I have to say that cousins marrying each other is really icky. Even if it was an acceptable practice at the time of the novel.
* As another side note, It’s pretty cool that J.K. Rowling named a cat that is featured repeatedly in the Harry Potter series ‘Mrs. Norris’ as a nod to Jane Austen’s influence in her writing and as a favorite author of hers. In fact – this is what she said about the next Austen book I have lined up to read- “I have never set up a surprise ending in a Harry Potter book without knowing I can never, and will never, do it anywhere near as well as Austen did in Emma.” That makes me want to get started reading it asap!