In Mansfield Park the letters that were being written between Fanny and Mary played an enormous role in the novel, much like many of Jane Austen’s other novels. The significance of the letters was continually proving the roles of Mary and Fanny and furthermore showing the difference between the passive and active characters in the novel. The novel’s characters were largely defined by their passive or active natures. For example, Mary is more talkative, increasingly sexual, and controlling in nature hile Fanny is more passive, silent, and doesn’t do much to control her surroundings.
Mary remains in control with the long letters she sends to Fanny defending and explaining her brother Henrys crazy and flirtatious actions while he was in London. Fanny, who at the time was visiting Portsmouth, had to rely on this single piece of news because of her, “present exile from good society. ” Although Mary couldVe been considered one of Fanny’s friends, the letters also proved that Mary and Henry were anipulative people and that Mary actually did not care about Fanny that much.
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The letters were simply a manipulative ploy to have Henry say what he wants to say to Fanny without sending the letters himself. Sending the letters himself would not only make them less viable but also during this time it was considered socially unacceptable to receive letters from any man whom she wasn’t engaged to. Henry is taking advantage of the fact that Fanny is currently in Portsmouth witnessing how hard life would be without the pleasures and luxury of Mansfield Park.
She is watching her family suffer with an alcoholic father, unmannered children and chaotic household. Mary writes to Fanny telling her that she would pick her up and take her back to Mansfield but would have to stop at Henrys estate along the way is Just a tactic to make sure that Henry can properly show off what he can provide for her hoping that after the unfortunate trip to Portsmouth she will be more grateful and be willing to marry him. Marys own reason for writing the letters are purely selfish and are not for the benefit of Fanny.
In actuality Mary could care less about Fanny and that is shown when she coaxes Fanny into taking the chain for her cross. Fanny believes the chain is from Mary and takes it but later finds out the chain was actually a gift from Henry. Throughout the book the characters of Mansfield Park are situated into how they are perceived and what their motives are and why. The letters help prove the characteristic natures of Mary, Henry and Fanny while also providing the readers with a look inside the rich of Mansfield Park and the poor of Portsmouth. Mansfield Park By angelamoon