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Mansfield Park (Modern Library Classics)

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Mansfield Park (Modern Library Classics) Cover

ISBN13: 9780375757815
ISBN10: 0375757813
Condition: Standard
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Reading Group Guide

1. Though it was very successful, Jane Austen deemed Pride and Prejudice, her second novel, ?rather too light.? As Carol Shields mentions in her Introduction, Austen hoped to address more serious issues in her next novel, Mansfield Park. Many readers and critics think Mansfield Park is Austen?s most serious and most profound novel. How does it differ from Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice ? How are her treatments of class, gender, relationships, and most especially, faith, more nuanced and more mature?

2. Describe the social positions of the three Ward sisters Lady Bertram, Mrs. Norris, and Mrs. Price. How did they arrive at such different circumstances and how have their circumstances presumably affected their personalities? How do the sisters treat each other and how much of this is the result of their respective status?

3. As soon as Sir Thomas decides to accept responsibility for one of Mrs. Price?s children, Fanny is put into an unusual position. Sir Bertram says, although she is to live with them, ?she is not a Miss Bertram . . . their rank, fortune, rights and expectations will always be different.? Describe the family?s feelings for Fanny as the novel develops. How does the treatment of Fanny by Mrs. Norris and the Bertram sisters distinguish her from the rest of the children? How does Fanny feel about the Bertrams and how do her feelings change, especially for Sir Bertram and Edmund? Before her marriage, what changes take place that allow for her acceptance in the family?

4. Fanny Price inspires strong reactions in readers; she is cast by some as a dreary killjoy, and by others as an endearing, admirable heroine. Is this dichotomy Austen?s intention? Discuss the ways in which Fanny embodies both sides of this polarized debate. What is your opinion of her in relation to other well-known female protagonists of the day?

5. Mansfield Park was divided into three volumes, published separately. Why do you think Austen chose this structure, and how does it affect your reading of the book? Think about other writing that employs this structure to inform your response.

6. From the moment the idea is suggested, Edmund is against the staging of a play. Why is the play seen as inappropriate by both Edmund and Fanny? Why, once it is decided upon, does Edmund accept a part in the play, even though he would appear a hypocrite? How much of this license was taken because of the absence of Sir Thomas and how much was simply the influence of Tom? What is the significance of their choice of plays, Lover?s Vows?

7. Describe the similarities and differences between the courtship of Edmund and Mary and that of Fanny and Henry. What are the stumbling blocks in these two courtships that cause them to fail? To what extent were the trials of these courtships responsible for Edmund?s change of heart toward Fanny?

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Janine Goodwin, January 19, 2012 (view all comments by Janine Goodwin)
I reread this novel every few years; this year, I was struck again by its richness, which never gets overly complex, and its depth. Austen is at her best here.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780375757815
Introduction:
Shields, Carol
Publisher:
Modern Library
Introduction by:
Shields, Carol
Introduction:
Shields, Carol
Author:
Austen, Jane
Author:
Shields, Carol
Location:
New York
Subject:
Classics
Subject:
England
Subject:
Young women
Subject:
Love stories
Subject:
Country homes
Subject:
Adoptees
Subject:
Cousins
Subject:
Domestic fiction
Subject:
Uncles
Subject:
Children of the rich
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Number:
2001
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Modern Library Classics
Series Volume:
18
Publication Date:
20011031
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
448
Dimensions:
8.01x5.19x.96 in. .82 lbs.

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Mansfield Park (Modern Library Classics) Used Trade Paper
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$5.50 In Stock
Product details 448 pages Modern Library - English 9780375757815 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , A poor relation adopted into a wealthy family, Fanny Price has only her good nature as a weapon in the battle to win the heart of the man she loves. In "Mansfield Park," a sequel of sorts to Pride and Prejudice, Austen at once challenges and embraces the mores of the day as only she can.
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