As some of you may know I've been reading Jane Austen's Mansfield Park lately and it's become a new favorite of mine. Each chapter takes a different turn and illuminates something interesting about each character in the story.
In Chapter 22 the quiet heroine of Mansfield Park starts to come into her own. After her cousins leave the great house Fanny Price becomes more important to her family and their friends. One particular tete-a-tete she has with Mary Crawford while walking in the parsonage garden illuminated her character even more for me.
Here is Fanny's part of the conversation (I put the parts that really interested me in bold):
“This is pretty, very pretty,” said Fanny, looking around her as they were thus sitting together one day; “every time I come into this shrubbery I am more struck with its growth and beauty. Three years ago, this was nothing but a rough hedgerow along the upper side of the field, never thought of as anything, or capable of becoming anything; and now it is converted into a walk, and it would be difficult to say whether most valuable as a convenience or an ornament; and perhaps, in another three years, we may be forgetting—almost forgetting what it was before. How wonderful, how very wonderful the operations of time, and the changes of the human mind!” And following the latter train of thought, she soon afterwards added: “If any one faculty of our nature may be called more wonderful than the rest, I do think it is memory. There seems something more speakingly incomprehensible in the powers, the failures, the inequalities of memory, than in any other of our intelligences. The memory is sometimes so retentive, so serviceable, so obedient; at others, so bewildered and so weak; and at others again, so tyrannic, so beyond control! We are, to be sure, a miracle every way; but our powers of recollecting and of forgetting do seem peculiarly past finding out.”
Miss Crawford, untouched and inattentive, had nothing to say; and Fanny, perceiving it, brought back her own mind to what she thought must interest. - Mansfield Park, Chapter 22
This proves the old saying that if you listen to a person talk long enough then you'll find out what they're really like!
I love the quote above because firstly it shows that Fanny is a rambler like me!
Secondly it shows that when allowed to speak her own mind Fanny does have a lot of interesting things to say! She's by no means dull and boring, she's probably one of the deepest thinking heroines in Austen's novels and this she's probably learned from Edmund who taught her to dig deeper, to draw conclusions and information from what she reads.
Also, as a young lady who cares for elderly people with Alzheimer's and dementia I found her thoughts on the intricacies of the human mind very relevant. God did design the human mind and body so amazingly and we can see that Fanny understands this when she says "We are, to be sure, a miracle every way...". It is my private opinion that it is Fanny's underlining and steadfast faith in God that guides her as she makes decisions and goes through the story untouched by the selfishness around her. I can't wait to read more about her!
Have you read Mansfield Park before?
Have you seen this quote before?
Which of Fanny Price's characteristics is most interesting to you?
Very Truly Your's,