Welcome to Week 3 of the Mansfield Park read-along! If you aren't familiar with the details, you can learn more about the read-along schedule in this invitation post. (We're reading 12 chapters per week.)
Today we're going to discuss chapters 7-13 (Volume II) and chapters 1-5 (Volume III). If you came prepared, go ahead and share your thoughts in the comments section or in your own post! (Feel free to use the image above, linking back to the Mansfield Park read-along tag.) If you still have to catch up on some reading, you're welcome to check in later this week or whenever you're ready. :)
Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!
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Mansfield Park Volume II: Chapters 7-13 and
Volume III: Chapters 1-5
Volume III: Chapters 1-5
Discussion Format: your favorite quotes, general impressions, and three questions to answer for each week's reading
- "He [Edmund] knows that human nature needs more lessons than a weekly sermon can convey, and that if he does not live among the parishioners and prove himself by constant attention their well-wisher and friend, he does very little either for their good or his own."
- "I hope you will like the chain itself, Fanny. I endeavored to consult the simplicity of your taste, but at any rate I know you will be kind to my intentions, and consider it, as it really is, a token of the love of one of your oldest friends."
- "The dejection which followed could only be relieved by the influence of fervent prayers for his happiness."
- "Two lines more prized had never fallen from the pen of the most distinguished author....there was a felicity in the flow of the first four words, in the arrangement of 'My very dear Fanny,' which she could have looked at for ever." [♥]
- "If we have been kind to her, she is now quite as necessary to us."
- "Baddeley was stout. 'No, Ma'am, it is Miss Price, I am certain of its being Miss Price.' And there was a half smile with the words which meant, 'I do not think you would answer the purpose at all.'" [Ha! I love this response to Mrs. Norris.]
- "Sure enough there was a book on the table which had the air of being very recently closed." [I like that description!]
This section was rather long...and dominated by Mr. Crawford's pursuit of Fanny. I am so torn over the direction of the story and the choices of the characters! I like Sir Thomas and Edmund, and yet I feel bad for how they're pressuring Fanny. And Edmund...I'm bummed that he still has his heart set on Miss Crawford. On the other hand, I do appreciate that the characters are complex, and are likable and decidedly unlikable in turn.
Part of me applauds Fanny's conviction, even in the face of very difficult opposition and guilt; she knows deep down that Mr. Crawford is still the man who pursued Maria and Julia with no regard for the damage he'd do or the hearts he'd break. Another part of me wishes that Mr. Crawford really did have a change of heart.
Is that awful of me? Could I have so quickly forgotten what a cad Mr. Crawford is? I guess it seems romantic to think that a "bad boy" could have opened his eyes to a wonderful woman and changed his ways. But we get enough glimpses of his true nature (in his pride, especially), and we hear enough admissions from his sister, to know that Fanny is being wise. If only someone else would understand and side with her!
I think it has to hurt Fanny even worse, knowing Edmund wants this for her. Instead of being jealous and realizing his own love for Fanny, he's pushing her into Mr. Crawford's arms. His feelings appear to be brotherly through and through at this point. :(
As for Miss Crawford, she's as frustrating as ever. I thought it was interesting for her to reveal that it was really her brother's idea to give Fanny the necklace. So...the one thing Edmund really admired Miss Crawford for wasn't even her idea!
I think it was really sweet of Sir Thomas to host a ball for Fanny and William. And I'm happy for William as a lieutenant. If only it didn't have to be due to Mr. Crawford... It's funny, because this is so incredibly different than Pride & Prejudice, and yet Mr. Darcy did things to help out Elizabeth's family, and he truly is a hero. I guess the difference lies in the proper motivation and a sense of humility, which are decidedly lacking in Mr. Crawford.
I am definitely curious to see how everything works out in the last part of the book!
Feel free to answer one, two, or all three of these questions in the comments section or in your own blog post!
1. Which character do you feel most strongly about at this point—in either a good or disapproving way? What makes that character especially stand out to you?
2. If you were in attendance at the ball, how would you occupy your time? Would you dance the night away, or would you prefer observation and conversation?
3. What advice would you give Fanny in handling Mr. Crawford's pursuit?
Join us next Wednesday for our final discussion!
(Vol. III: Ch. 6-17)