Discussion Questions: Mansfield Park

November 16, 2009 at 12:10 am Leave a comment

Welcome to the first LT Classics Challenge Discussion Questions Post! These questions are meant to guide my reading and the Thursday discussion post, as well as the reading of those following along. If you’ve already read Mansfield Park and want to refresh your thinking for the discussion on Thursday, these questions are a great place to start.

If you have no idea what I am talking about, please wander on over to the LT Classics Challenge Page and take a gander! And remember, those who participate in at least one discussion during the Challenge are entered in December’s drawing.

Dame Margaret Drabble, critic, actress and novelist, has said that Mansfield Park is “full of the energies of discord — sibling rivalry, greed, ambition, illicit sexual passion, and vanity.” Do you believe the energies of discord form the main core of this novel? If not, what does?

Jane Austen has a talent for turning everyday events into significant plot points riddled with symbolism. In Mansfield Park, the incident with Fanny and the chain for her cross necklace is one of those events. How does Jane Austen use this to illustrate Fanny’s mindset and potential futures? Is it effective, in your view?

More than Pride and Prejudice or Sense and Sensibility, Mansfield Park focuses on propriety, etiquette, and societal expectations. Think of the debate about whether Fanny is “out” or not, her role in the family due to her lower economic status, and the to-dos made over the theatrical production, Fanny’s dining out at the Grants’, and other scenes that focus on conventions of the period. Do these scenes make Mansfield Park less accessible to a modern audience? Does it matter?

Think it over, and I’ll post my answers on Thursday after I’ve finished the book! If there’s something you’d like to discuss that you don’t see here, please feel free to leave your questions in a comment below.

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Entry filed under: LT Classics Challenge. Tags: , , , .

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