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YMMV / Mansfield Park

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  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Jane is both scathing and understanding of her own creation, the woefully inadequate Lady Bertram. However, modern readers might wonder at some underlying heart, neurological or autoimmune dysfunction that would have been undiagnosable at Austen's time of writing, particularly if she was based on a or several living templates. Add the highlighted terrible education, the low social expectations of "proper ladies with money", no worthwhile support systems and Mrs Norris sticking her oar in for her own selfish reasons... How much of that flighty, inconsistent demeanour is actually personal, wilfully chosen laziness as Jane suggests some of it is, rather than symptomatic of ignored physiological, psychosocial and cognitive issues combining into something horrible for all concerned? Is Lady Bertram just a violent disposition or an unlucky fortune away from Madwoman in the Attic, rather than her primarily self-imposed isolation from other family members due to an inbuilt inability to cope she would always have little chance to control, even were she to have a better education or regard for others?
    • Edmund Bertram is largely portrayed fairly positively...but it cannot be ignored that the kindness he shows Fanny, for which she falls in love with him, is mostly just basic human decency, made to appear exceptional by the fact that it's still better treatment than Fanny receives from anyone else at Mansfield. And even then, his treatment of her is Innocently Insensitive at best. Edmund's It's All About Me tendencies are better-hidden than his siblings' but this is still the man who responds to what he believes is Fanny's heartbreak over a man who was courting her seducing her cousin by begging her to think of his heartbreak over Mary's support of her brother.
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  • Broken Base: Some people feel that various adaptations of Mansfield Park itself, notably the 1999 movie and the 2007 film, are utter travesties of the book, based on statements by filmmakers in each case saying that they didn't find the character of Fanny very interesting. Other people feel that the adaptations are an improvement, on account of Fanny becoming less of an Extreme Doormat.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Serious scholarly version: Many critics are of the opinion that Mary Crawford is similar to Elizabeth Bennet. While both Lizzie and Mary are extroverted, fearless, and independent young women, Lizzie still has moral standards, comprehension and empathy that Mary notably lacks. Lizzie was an affectionate and snarky Spirited Young Lady, whereas Mary is a selfish Spirited Young Lady with no regard for the happiness of the people around her, except for her brother.
  • Fan Preferred Couples:
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    • Quite a few Janeites wish the novel had ended with Fanny/Henry Crawford and Edmund/Mary Crawford instead of Fanny/Edmund, despite that Austen always strives to show that true love arises from similarity of character and that bad boys will not change for a good girl.
    • There is also the viewpoint that Fanny's happiest ending would have her married to neither the caddish Henry or her stuffy cousin Edmund, but instead living in that cottage with William that he mentions while fantasizing about his career.
  • Hard-to-Adapt Work: This one tends to get skipped over whenever there's a new rush of Austen adaptations. Two of the three existing adaptations rework Fanny's personality because she's even more deeply internal a character than Elinor Dashwood or Anne Elliot (who also get ignored by their family but have a greater sense of self-worth and direction). The darker themes and the values dissonance surrounding cousin romance and the allusion to slavery also make for an Audience-Alienating Premise for some, given the general tone of Austen's other works.
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  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Mary Crawford blames Fanny for her brother eloping with Maria Rushworth, saying no harm would have been done if she had just married him, and his relationship with Maria "would have all ended in a regular standing flirtation, in yearly meetings at Sotherton and Everingham." A few decades later, it's like Anne Bronte read that alternate ending, wondered, "What If?", and wrote The Tenant of Wildfell Hall to answer the question.
  • Les Yay:
    • Fanny/Mary Crawford — much more subtle than Emma/Harriet but definitely there.
      Edmund: Well, Fanny, and how do you like Miss Crawford now?
      >Fanny: Very well — very much. I like to hear her talk. She entertains me; and she is so extremely pretty, that I have great pleasure in looking at her.
    • There are very suggestive scenes between Fanny (Frances O'Connor) and Mary (Embeth Davidtz) in the 1999 movie, at least for as long as Fanny isn't a serious contender for anyone's hand in marriage.
  • Misaimed Fandom: Sorry, Jane, but some readers still judge Fanny Price and Mary Crawford by their first impressions.
  • Retroactive Recognition: The 2007 adaptation features a pre-MCU Hayley Atwell as Mary Crawford.
  • Ship-to-Ship Combat: Mockingly between Jane and Cassandra Austen, according to their niece Louisa Knight.
  • Values Dissonance:
    • The first of the early warning signs that Mary Crawford is a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing seem less blatant when looked at through modern eyes: She makes an open criticism of her uncle (a philanderer who moved his mistress into the home after his wife's death). Such criticism of her guardian was considered a highly disrespectful action in that time.
    • Edmund is opposed to the play on many grounds - but one of them is the 'indecency' of his sisters being on stage in front of an audience, even a small family audience, something we would not bat an eye at today. Granted, the participants then pick a romantic play and use the rehearsals as an excuse to flirt all over the place, so his objection still ends up justified by modern standards, but his incredibly deep objections when Tom begins the scheme are still puzzling to modern readers.
    • The happy ending is the heroine marrying her cousin. This isn't the only first-cousin couple depicted in Austen's work, but it is the only one where the main character is involved. Though there wasn't a taboo against such relationships at the time (it was more important that the two branches of the family were of the same social class), it's still hard for many modern readers not to feel weird about it.

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