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Mansfield Park

Mansfield Park

by Jane Austen

Mansfield Park Chapter 5 Summary

  • All the young people become fast friends. The Bertram girls like Mary a lot.
  • Both the Bertram sisters develop crushes on Henry who isn't super good looking but makes up for it in the personality department. He's extremely charming.
  • Henry is Julia's by default, since she's not engaged.
  • But Maria's really falling for Henry and is confused and freaked out by it all.
  • The Crawfords are hanging out and chatting with their half-sister.
  • Mrs. Grant grills Henry about his love life and Henry notes that he likes engaged women better than single ones. Henry's clearly a player and he likes flirting and going after hard-to-get women.
  • Mrs. Grant, with good nature, tells Henry to knock it off and asks Mary what they should do with him.
  • Mary laughs and says Henry will get his comeuppance one of these days, and will fall in love and get screwed over by it.
  • Mrs. Grant and Mary then have a highly entertaining conversation about marriage. Mary says that everyone is "taken in" by marriage. People assume things about their future spouse and then find out the cold hard truth after they tie the knot. Marriage is a total gamble, basically.
  • Mrs. Grant also notes that wedlock has good and bad aspects, though it's wildly unpredictable.
  • Mrs. Grant says that Mansfield will cure the Crawfords of their high society London ways.
  • Mary continues to think that Tom Bertram is the guy for her since he's way better in the personality department than Edmund and is also the eldest son, which means a better inheritance.
  • Tom is a gambler, though, and likes betting on horse races. Mary lets this slide for now.
  • Fanny is left out of all the excitement and isn't overly thrilled with the Crawfords.
  • The Crawfords chat with Edmund later. Both of them are wondering whether or not Fanny is "out" yet.
  • Historical Context Time again! Being "out" is a way of saying that a young lady is out in society and can receive and accept a marriage proposal. If a lady is not "out," it's generally because she's too young to get married or because she has older sisters who need to get married before she does. When a lady is "out" she can go to parties and balls and dinner engagements. Women who aren't "out" stay at home more and don't socialize with single men.
  • OK, so Edmund is clueless about being "out" in society.
  • The Crawfords enlighten him with a funny story about how Henry and Mary agree that lots of families don't manage their daughters well and let the girls who aren't technically "out" run around as though they were, which is just confusing for all.
  • The Crawfords agree that manners are changing but they can't really judge anyone badly or see exactly where the error is.
  • Edmund has no problem judging people and says that if daughters are wild it's their parent's fault.
  • Mary disagrees and says that she doesn't care if girls who are "out" act more boldly. The problem is with girls who aren't "out" yet.
  • Henry chimes in with a hilarious story about he accidentally made a move on a girl who wasn't "out" yet and ignored her older sister, who was "out" and was therefore quite insulted.
  • They get back to Fanny, and Mary asks Edmund point blank if Fanny goes to balls and the like. Edmund says "no" and Henry and Mary agree that Fanny is not "out" yet.

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