Mansfield Park

Show Summary Details

Quick Reference

A novel by J. Austen, begun 1811, published 1814.

Sir Thomas Bertram of Mansfield Park, a stern but kind‐hearted man, has two sons, Tom and Edmund, and two daughters, Maria and Julia. His wife, a charming, indolent woman, has two sisters: Mrs Norris, a near neighbour, who is spiteful and selfish, and Mrs Price, the wife of an impecunious officer of marines, with a large family of young children. In order to assist the Prices, Sir Thomas undertakes the charge of their eldest daughter Fanny, a timid child of nine. In spite of her humble situation and the cruelty of Mrs Norris, Fanny becomes an indispensable part of the household. The strength and earnestness of her character is particularly shown during Sir Thomas's absence in the West Indies, when family discipline is relaxed, forbidden private theatricals are mounted, and an unseemly flirtation begins between Maria Bertram, who is already engaged to marry Mr Rushworth, and Henry Crawford, the attractive, worldly brother‐in‐law of the parson of Mansfield. Against all this Fanny resolutely sets her face. Loving her cousin Edmund, she grieves to see him fascinated by the frivolous Mary Crawford, sister of Henry. Maria having become Mrs Rushworth, Henry turns his attention to Fanny, falls in love with her, and proposes. Fanny unhesitatingly rejects him, incurring the grave displeasure of Sir Thomas for what he regards as a piece of ungrateful perversity. During a visit paid by Fanny to her own home, matters come to a crisis. Henry, accidentally encountering Maria Rushworth again, runs away with her; and Julia elopes with an unsuitable suitor, Mr Yates. Mary Crawford's failure to condemn her brother's conduct, together with her aversion to marrying a clergyman (for Edmund has by now taken orders) finally opens Edmund's eyes to her true character. He turns for comfort to Fanny, falls in love, and they are married.

Subjects: Literature.

Reference entries

Jane Austen (1775—1817) novelist

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.