Critical analysis of the “Mansfield Park” novel by Jane Austen

Critical Analysis

In the novel, Mansfield Park, Jane Austen communicates very many ideas in a very complicated way but which readers can understand and relate to. The ideas include the vices and virtues in society. So the book is more about social awareness. Jane Austen has presented the ideas such as classism, marriage, upbringing of people, corruption, and sexuality all in one piece. Just like in the 19th century, these subjects are still as relevant in the modern society today. The author has just succeeded to expound on all these subjects in ways too clear and direct for the time. Thus, the book has had a lot of readership and should continue being read.

The main ideas

Jane Austen’s novel Mansfield park contains ideas that are relatable to today’s world situations. They include:

  • Love
    In Mansfield’s Park, love is great but at some point it gets messy and confusing for involved parties. This is due to the phenomenon where you love someone who doesn’t love you but another who loves another. The vicious cycle goes on like that. Characters in this novel have confirmed this trend is actually there. However, some people like Fanny, they are lucky to find true love; that which boosts their self-confidence and reaffirms who they are as people. Jane Austen uses Fanny to tell the world that there actually is true love and it can be found. Love is one of the main ideas in Mansfield Park.
  • Marriage and social status
    Most people in society still believe that marriage is a ladder to higher social statuses because unity is financial strength, particularly the women. Even characters in Jane Austen’s novel have demonstrated this belief. But here, it’s more of an issue of who marries who. Lady Bertram gets wealthy as a result of marriage to Sir Thomas. Fanny, Rushworth, and other people such as the Crawford and Bertram siblings focus on who to marry, of course, with their parents’ input. This is because they all believe marriage gives you financial stability and fortunes. This is the same case for a significant number of people in the present world. Some will even prefer to marry/get married to people already loaded with wealth.
  • Classism
    Classism refers to the war that exist between the rich and poor classes. It is worse today and dates back to the 19th century. In the novel, Mansfield Park, we see Fanny during her young ages being sent to live with her rich auntie and uncle, Lady Bertram and Sir Thomas respectively. While there, the children there (her cousins) learn to like her but their parents still non-verbally mistreat her due to her poor background. Fanny’s other aunt, Mrs. Norris, who neighbors the home Fanny currently lives, is even worse since her abuse on Fanny is quite verbal.
  • Home and family
    Family units and homes are directly related. No matter what people go through, families should always remain standing. However, in Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park, we see family ties being compromised on the basis of social class or income. For instance, Fanny gets mistreated by both of her aunts due to her poor background when she moves to their home. On the other hand, family ties are strengthened when Sir Thomas, who owns plantation in the Caribbean, often takes his some with him when going away from home. Fanny’s cousins learn to like her despite her background. Such odd situations can be seen today in society. But home and family still stand even today.

The plot of Mansfield Park

The story starts with Fanny being sent to her rich relative’s home in Mansfield Park where she meets her cousins: Tom, Julia, Edmund, and Maria. Edmund learns to like Fanny. The latter develops romantic feelings for Edmund. While Edmund’s father is away, Mrs. Norris finds Maria a wealthy suitor, Mr. Rushworth, to whom Maria gets engaged. The Crawford siblings arrive at the neighboring Parson’s home to keep their sister company. Interfamily relationships are born between the Crawfords and the Bertrams. Consequently, Mary Crawford falls in love with Edmund although she secretly thinks marrying Edmund’s eldest brother, Tom will improve her social status. Henry Crawford flirts with Julia and Maria together.

Fanny realizes what is going on and protests Edmund and Mary’s relationship and that of Henry and Maria since she is already engaged to Mr. Rushworth. Henry tried to entice Fanny but she is not having it due to her love for Edmund. Sir Thomas is back and is pissed at Fanny’s rejection of Henry and sends her back home to make her change her mind. But, she remains adamant. Henry moves on with Maria who ditches Mr. Rushworth for him, a move which stresses the Bertrams to the point that Tom gets ill. Edmund takes back Fanny to Mansfield Park and is regarded by Thomas as an equal to other siblings. They get married and life happily ever after.

The history of the Novel

Mansfield Park is an English story by Jane Austen. It was first published in July 1814 and has been published severally in about three volumes. The novel took about 7 years to receive public critique. People started questioning its controversial and disturbing subjects that have remained that way until today. The presentation of the novel on TV has also increased its readership. As a result, people are getting a deeper understanding on society.


  • Fanny
    Is morally upright – he rejects Henry who entices her to fall in love with him.
    Silly – falls in love with her cousin, Edmund
  • Lady Bertram
    Cruel – mistreats Fanny due to her poor financial background
    Accommodative – Give Fanny a second home.
  • Sir Thomas
    Cruel – He owns slaves and treats his own Niece as a slave or second class citizen.
    Accommodative – gives Fanny a second home.
  • Rushworth
    Loving – He loves Maria and marries her.
    Vengeful – He files a law suit against Maria for divorce.
  • Henry Crawford
    Charming – ladies mostly fall for his antics.
    Loving – falls in love with both Fanny and Maria.
  • Mrs. Norris
    Cruel – she discriminates Fanny because of her poor background and often verbally abuses her.

Indeed, Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park is a key reflection of society. For a better understanding of the world, the novel should be very instrumental.

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