Mansfield Park: Top Ten Quotations

Give a girl an education, and introduce her properly into the world, and ten to one but she has the means of settling well, without further expense to any body.p. 4 In this instance, Mrs Norris defends the idea of bringing Fanny to Mansfield Park and in so doing reveals the dominant values of this society: of girls ‘settling well’ into a prosperous marriage. Economics rather than love or morality is a deciding factor in this type of good match.

“I think it might be done, if you really wished to be more at large, and could allow yourself to think it not prohibited.”p. 99 Mr Crawford encourages Maria to get out past the locked gate at Sotherton. This has a figurative resonance as later in the novel Maria and Mr Crawford commit adultery, and so the gate comes to represent the confines of an unsuitable marriage.

Fanny looked on and listened, not unamused to observe the selfishness which, more or less disguised, seemed to govern them all, and wondering how it would end.p. 130 Ostensibly, Fanny watches the others try to decide which play to perform. The squabbles over the choice emphasize the already evident selfish qualities that have been depicted in many of these characters. This also exemplifies the depiction of Fanny as morally upstanding and being on the outside looking in.

Everybody had a part either too long or too short; – nobody would attend as they ought, nobody would remember on which side they were to come in – nobody but the complainer would observe the directions.p. 152 Fanny’s observations of the rehearsals magnify the individualism of the players. Their inability to work together or consider others is under scrutiny here.

 A well-disposed young woman, who did not marry for love, was in general but the more attached to her own family, and the nearness of Sotherton to Mansfield must naturally hold out the greatest temptation, and would, in all probability, be a continual supply of the most amiable and innocent enjoyments. p. 197 This quotation is a glimpse of Sir Thomas’s reasoning of why Maria should still marry Mr Rushworth despite his doubts over her happiness.

“A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of.”p. 204 Miss Crawford’s interest in wealth and lack of interest in housekeeping matters is humorously encapsulated in this reference. This is in contrast to the attitudes of Fanny and Edmund.

 “Remember, where-ever you are, you must be the lowest and last.”p. 217 Mrs Norris beseeches Fanny to remember her lowly position in society’s hierarchy. With this speech, the stratifying effect of such a society is criticized.

It might occur to him, that Mr Crawford had been sitting by her long enough, or he might mean to recommend her as a wife by shewing her persuadableness.p. 279 This suggests that Sir Thomas might have sent Fanny off to bed to demonstrate her ‘persuadableness’ to Mr Crawford. By showing her malleability, he is, it is implied, showing off her value to this suitor.

Romantic delicacy was certainly not to be expected from him. She must do her duty, and trust that time might make her duty easier than it was now.p. 327 Fanny recognizes how Sir Thomas’s lack of ‘romantic delicacy’ has already been revealed when he had married Maria off to Mr Rushworth. Unlike Maria, she refuses to marry the deemed eligible bachelor but will do her duty (of seeing Mr Crawford in company) in the hope it will not be for too long.

Fanny was disposed to think the influence of London very much at war with all respectable attachments.p. 430 London is drawn as a place of sin when seen through Fanny’s eyes and so the city comes to represent the evils of urban life where temptations abound.