Quicklet on Jane Austen's Mansfield Park

by Amy Sharony

What's in the book?

Quicklets: Your reading sidekick!

    • About the Book
    • About the Author
    • Synopsis
    • Important People
    • Key Terms and Definitions
    • Chapter-By-Chapter Commentary & Summary
    • Additional Resources



Mansfield Park was the third of Jane Austen’s books to be printed. Though it has some qualities in common with Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice, which were published before it, Mansfield Park stands out as a completely different kind of book. For one thing, the lively, quick-witted, playful female ends up being a villain, while the butter-wouldn’t-melt-in-her-mouth goody-goody is the novel’s heroine. For another thing, Mansfield Park isn’t a light-hearted love story. It touches on sensitive issues, including slavery, gossip, and politics. For Austen lovers, Mansfield Park is a veritable walk on the dark side.


Amy Sharony writes about parenting, health, education, food, travel, books and other lifestyle topics for a variety of print and online publications.


Not everyone likes Mansfield Park, and a large part of that is due to its heroine. Fanny Price is sweet, complacent, and accommodating, but she’s also a judgmental, passive-aggressive prig who spends half the novel complaining to herself about everyone around her. Is it her fault? Certainly, her upbringing has contributed to her character: Sent away from her harum-scarum family in her tender youth to live with her wealthy aunt Bertram’s family, Fanny is alternately ignored (by her cousins and their mother), picked at (by her aunt Norris, who favors Lady Bertram’s children), and treated like a fragile flower by her cousin Edmund.

By the time the children of the family are old enough to start thinking of marriage, Fanny has developed into young lady smart enough to recognize the follies of her family and friends but not confident or compassionate enough to share her knowledge with them. She’s also developed a raging (and hopeless) crush on Edmund.

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