Mansfield Park: Episode 2, Chapters 4-7

In this episode, we read the Chapters 4 to 7 of Mansfield Park. We talk about the character-revealing scenes, how the presentation of Fanny may make some readers dislike her, why Maria became engaged to Mr Rushworth, and Henry Crawford’s behaviour.

We discuss the character of Mary Crawford – who is perhaps almost as divisive as Fanny Price – and then Ellen talks about baronets, Members of Parliament, and the idea of ‘interest’. Harriet considers how the three adaptations, and two of the modernisations, present these chapters.

Things we mention:

General and character discussion:

Popular culture discussion:

Creative commons music used:

5 thoughts on “<em>Mansfield Park</em>: Episode 2, Chapters 4-7”

  1. I am enjoying your episodes on Mansfield Park. I must disagree with you on Fanny Price though. I like Fanny! I know you say Jane Austen tries to push her off on the reader to be liked, but Fanny has qualities that make her appealing to the reader, especially when Jane Austen is the creator of said character. What does it say about Jane?
    I’ve read character analysis that describe Fanny as a “prig” and that she is judgmental, but I feel her judgments are correct and she judges herself as well. Fanny knows that she is not without fault. I would say that most, if not all, the characters in Mansfield Park are morally corrupt. But Fanny holds herself to a higher standard because that’s all she has to recommend her.
    One can say that Fanny is a product of her environment and time. In comparison to the other characters, Fanny is modest and principled. This doesn’t make her weak or whiny. The modern reader may not understand this. Jane was certainly influenced by the moral and social standards of her time, which the reader has to be willing to take into consideration.

    • I’m glad you are enjoying the episodes. Just to clarify – we don’t dislike Fanny, and we don’t see her as a ‘prig’. Her character observations and judgements are usually correct, and we certainly don’t see her as weak or whiny.
      Having said that, on this close readthrough, we are both noticing things that we had previously overlooked in how Fanny is presented, and that may partially explain why some readers take against her.
      But I don’t think this fundamentally changes how we feel about her. And one of these points is the fact that she DOES hold herself to a very high standard – and sometimes struggles to achieve this (which we will be discussing in more detail throughout the episodes).

  2. Hi Ladies

    I really love your Podcast! Just wondering if either of you have listened an audio version of Jane Austen books? Audible has some good ones. The performer definitely makes a difference. You get the dramatization with the full story. I’m listening to the Mansfield Park version performed by Frances Barber. I’ve read the story before so now I am listening to the chapters and then listen to your Podcast. Keep up the great work!!

    • Hi Julie – Harriet here. I am not a big audiobook person, although many years ago (in the pre-Audible age!) I did listen to some versions read beautifully by Juliet Stephenson. Ellen, on the other hand, does enjoy audiobooks. I believe the version of Mansfield Park she has is narrated by Anna Bentinck.
      I’m so glad you are enjoying the podcast – we love making it, as the close reading means that we keep discovering new things about the books.


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