The Importance of Home and Family in Jane Austen's Mansfield Park

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The Importance of Home and Family in Jane Austen's Mansfield Park "They were a remarkably fine family...and all of them well-grown and forward of their age, which produced as striking a difference between the cousins in person, as education had given to their address." (Austen, 49) Within the first few pages of Mansfield Park, Jane Austen implants in the minds of her readers the idea that contrasting and conflicting environments are the forces that will decide the heroine's fate. Austen's own home and family influenced her life, writing, and the creation of the homes in her novels, and in turn, shaped her heroines. But Fanny Price is unique among Jane Austen's heroines,…show more content…
Upon first arrival at Mansfield, the shy little girl, "longing for the home she had left," (Austen, 50) is indeed pitiable. But she is soon befriended by her cousin Edmund, who from the start strikes Fanny as a gentleman "with all the gentleness of an excellent nature." (Austen, 51) With his guidance and friendship, Fanny flourishes in the genteel country society, and "learning to transfer in its favour much of her attachment to her former home, grew up there not unhappily among her cousins." (Austen, 56) As her uncle later suspects, Fanny grows so accustomed to the refined company of her cousins that she fails to fully appreciate Mansfield Park. Fondly remembering the home she had left behind at the tender age of ten, Fanny is overjoyed to return to Portsmouth for a visit, even with the knowledge of Sir Thomas' true intentions-to convince her to marry Henry Crawford. While Fanny entertains no such views, she hopes to return to and rediscover her true family and home. The shock she receives at perceiving the differences between Mansfield and Portsmouth was the first contribution to the downward spiral into which her health and spirits fell. With her usual thorough
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