Raze and Raise: The Power of Misunderstanding in Mansfield

Graham, Bailey
Mansfield Park is Jane Austen's most complex and least popular novel. Fanny Price, a poor cousin, grows up on the estate of Mansfield Park, where multiple courtships among the estate's young people end with Fanny's marriage to her beloved cousin Edmund. The purpose of the paper is to explore the relationships within the novel and their foundations in misunderstanding. The main romantic couples are deconstructed in terms of their contradictions. Four couples and Fanny are analyzed as individuals and as elements of the whole novel. The story centers on Fanny and her incisive observations are the closest one gets to understanding, but her judgment is sometimes faulty. Henry Crawford and Maria Bertram's relationship structures the story and their superficiality is an important element throughout the text. Mary Crawford and Edmund Bertram's relationship is based on self-deception, which every character suffers from. Henry Crawford and Fanny Price's relationship fails through misjudgment. Finally, Edmund Bertram and Fanny Price can only fall in love because of the cacophony of disastrous misunderstandings that dominate the book. The paper concludes that the void of understanding upon which Mansfield Park is built is integral to and dependent upon the novel's hopeful reconstruction of humanity.
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