The Character of Mrs. Norris in Mansfield Park

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The Character of Mrs. Norris in Mansfield Park

For any character there are three main ways of learning about them. Firstly, how the character themselves thinks and behaves. Secondly, how other characters respond to the character. Lastly, how the author discusses the character is very revealing. Each of these views of Mrs. Norris is provided by the author.

Mrs Norris is only related to Mansfield Park through her sister, Lady Bertram. While she may not have managed to make the affluent marriage that her sister did, there is no doubting her love of money. Sir Thomas Bertram provides an income for Mrs Norris' husband, a member of the clergy. This enables them to live in comfort and in close proximity to the house at Mansfield
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Yet, once she sees a way of making herself seem charitable and generous, Mrs Norris is keen to establish contact with Mrs Price once more. Her wish to be involved in every aspect of her familyís life conflicts with her standing on her sister's marriage to a Lieutenant of the Marines, but this does not seem to bother her.

The language that Mrs Norris uses is very persuasive and there are few ways of overriding what she says. Even those who are close to her are shown not to expend much effort arguing with her. In her attempts to persuade Sir Thomas to take Fanny Price, she declares: "[I] would rather deny myself the necessaries of life, than do an ungenerous thing". She is indifferent to others' protests and has an answer to everything. Mrs Norris is presented as the sort of person who believes herself to be liked by all, but is actually hated by most.

Mrs Norris has no qualms about favouring her niece, Maria, and also no worries about stirring relations between all three of her nieces at Mansfield Park. Rather than admonishing her niece's prejudices against their less fortunate cousin, she explains that Fanny is to be pitied and once more wastes no time in praising her nieces' accomplishments: "You must not expect everybody to be as forward and quick at learning as yourself". The superficiality of the praise perpetually being given to the
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