by Jane Austen
Mansfield Park Family Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
In everything but disposition, they were admirably taught. Sir Thomas did not know what was wanting, because, though a truly anxious father, he was not outwardly affectionate, and the reserve of his manner repressed al the flow of their spirits before him (2.31).
Ineffective parenting is a running theme throughout this book, and fathers and mothers frequently fail to understand or to control their children. As in marriage, raising children is something of a gamble. It's also notable that education is closely linked to family here. Families have a hugely influential power on character formation.
"I blush for you, Tom," said he, in his most dignified manner; "I blush for the expedient which I am driven on, and I trust I may pity your feelings as a brother on the occasion. You have robbed Edmund [...] perhaps for life, or more than half the income which ought to be his. [...]."
Tom listened with some shame and some sorrow; but, escaping as quickly as possible, could soon with cheerful selfishness reflect, first, that he had not been half so much in debt as some of his friends; secondly, that his father had made a most tiresome piece of work of it [...] (3.3-4).
Tom clearly thinks his dad is ridiculous – he's a classic rebellious son. In order to pay Tom's debts, his dad had to take some money out of Edmund's inheritance. It's kind of like Tom blew through his own trust fund and now has to borrow from Edmund's.
The Miss Bertrams were much to be pitied on the occasion; not for their sorrow, but for their want of it. Their father was no object of love to them; he had never seemed the friend of their pleasures, and his absence was unhappily most welcome (3.64).
Sir Thomas is also "to be pitied" here since most of his children don't respect him and don't like him. His absence signals the start of fun times, basically.