Jane Austen’s writing, in my opinion, allowed woman to speak their mind. Her writing of society and balls being drab and the heroine wanting to break away from what a woman should be is feminism. The heroine enjoyed taking longer walks than they “should.” They didn’t succumb to petty giggling and gossips.
Fanny Price is all this and more in “Mansfield Park.” She isn’t afraid to talk about politics and slavery. Something woman at this time didn’t discuss with men. But Fanny does.
Fanny’s family is of middle class with a large family. Too large a family (9 children – Fanny is 2nd eldest) that the parents had to send Fanny away at age 10 to relatives for her reception into a society lifestyle. The 8 years that Fanny lives with the Bertrams, she shows to be more responsible and intelligent.
The Bertrams are very wealthy because of a slavery business they own. Tom and Edward Bertram are complete opposites. Tom is a free spirit with some drinking and gambling problems. Edward wants to become a clergyman. Their sister, Maria, is a romantic. She marries Mr. Rushworth for his money but is still hopelessly involved with the rake Henry Crawford. No surprise that the youngest sister, Julia, is jealous of Maria. But she learns from Maria and uses the sister’s mistakes to her own advantages (marries a man her father doesn’t approve of).
The Bertram children (except for Edward) are all spoiled and selfish. The father, Sir Thomas, is rightfully ashamed of their actions. The eldest son, Tom, however is the only one who changes his life for the better. The two daughters still remain selfish and spoiled (Mrs. Norris, the aunt, encourages this behavior).
This is a well written Austen book. I would very much recommend.