Everything Austen #2: Mansfield Park

Back in July, I joined the Everything Austen Challenge hosted by Stephanie’s Written Word.  You can read about my challenge list here.  So far I have not done a good job convincing myself that I will actually finish the challenge as originally planned (or at all).  It is the middle of October and I’ve only completed two items.  I’m having a hard time getting through Pride and Prejudice and don’t want to push it because I love the book too much.  There is no way I’m going to be able to read both the original and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by the end of the year.  But, I will keep doing what I can and maybe swap out a few books for movies in the end (I feel like a high school student).

I did watch Mansfield Park recently.  I really didn’t care for the book when I read it last year, so I wanted to give the story another chance to gain my good opinion.  I can say that I enjoyed the movie more than the book, but I’m still not in love with it and it is still by far my least favorite Austen novel.

In order to make the movie likeable at all, they had to make Fanny Price likeable.  She drove me crazy in the book and they changed her in the movie.  But by making her stronger, I think they failed to show how much she loved Edmund all her life.

Speaking of, the whole cousins-raised-as-siblings love story didn’t make me feel as uncomfortable as reading the book did.  I actually found myself cheering for them.  And the scene when they are driving back to Mansfield Park and they hold hands and Edmund falls asleep on her shoulder – it gave me butterflies.

A few of the things that I liked best about the book were changed.  Her relationship with her brother – that was changed to her sister.  Sir Thomas’ interest in her when he returns from Antigua was there but not really.  And some of the character quirks in Mrs. Norris’ awful ways and Mr. Rushworth’s self-love.  Also, I don’t remember the slave-trade playing a large role in the book but perhaps I overlooked it.

In the interest of full disclosure, I should say that I watched this movie over a period of three days and was getting ready for work or ironing throughout the whole thing, so I may not have gotten the full movie experience.  But I’m glad I saw it and got a chance to reevaluate Mansfield Park.  Perhaps I don’t dislike it quite as much as I used to.

7 thoughts on “Everything Austen #2: Mansfield Park

  1. Dominique October 18, 2009 / 11:25 pm

    You’re doing better than me, I still haven’t done anything for the challenge! They emphasised the slave trade stuff much more in the movie from what I remember, I think to enhance the drama. I like your new blog! 🙂


    • Michelle October 18, 2009 / 11:30 pm

      You are probably right. The scene where Fanny sees Tom’s drawings of the slaves in Antigua was certainly very dramatic.

      I just checked out your new blog. Looks good. We are apparently a part of a mass exodus from vox. Emily and Jennifer are leaving, too.


      • Dominique October 18, 2009 / 9:56 pm

        Thanks! I really like this site so far. The readomatic thing in Dashboard seems to let you sort of make a bit of community like vox, which I was worried about not having after changing. I also really like WordPress’ aesthetic, something about it is much more professional looking or something. Ohh and you might already know this, but I discovered yesterday that you can alter what date the posts you make are on. So you can post something today but make it appear it was posted in July. It’s been heaps helpful when transferring my old stuff across from vox while keeping my new posts up the top of the page! 🙂


  2. vishytheknight October 19, 2009 / 8:02 am

    Enjoyed reading your review! I haven’t read ‘Mansfield Park’ yet, but I have seen the movie a few times and liked it very much. I am hoping to read the book sometime. One of the characters in ‘The Jane Austen Book Club’ (movie version), Prudie, says that the movie version of ‘Mansfield Park’ is very different from the book and the director has made changes to the heroine’s personality in the movie to make her look like Jane Austen herself. When I read your post I remembered that 🙂

    By the way, your WordPress blog is quite nice and cool! You must be a blog whiz – you have setup the blog in an evening and have added ‘special effects’ 🙂 The way you have setup comments is quite beautiful too. You have to tell me sometime how you did it.


    • Michelle October 19, 2009 / 9:31 am

      I’d forgotten that Prudie said that but I think that’s correct. Fanny was more like Jane Austen. In the book she is very unlikeable and not witty like she is in the movie.

      I don’t know about being a blog whiz but I thank you. I’m still playing around with it and making minor changes. The comments were actually set up like this by default but you can change in the “discussion” section on the dashboard. You can make the comments nest up to 10 levels.


      • Vishy October 20, 2009 / 12:42 am

        Thanks for that information! I checked the ‘nesting’ feature – it is wonderful! I don’t remember this being there before – it seems to be a new WordPress feature! I have added that feature to my blog too 🙂

        Hope you are enjoying the blogging experience in your new blog!


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