by Jane Austen
Mansfield Park Marriage Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
"An engaged woman is always more agreeable than a disengaged. She is satisfied with herself. Her cares are over, and she feels that she may exert al her powers of pleasing without suspicion. All is safe with a lady engaged; no harm can be done" (5.12).
Henry's statement reveals two things. First, it shows that Henry enjoys going after "hard-to-get" girls and is a bit of a playboy. Second, Henry makes some interesting social commentary. In this time period, women were under a ton of pressure to get married and engaged women probably were more "agreeable" than their stressed out, un-engaged counterparts.
"You have been in a bad school for matrimony, in Hill Street."
"My poor aunt had certainly little cause to love the state; but, however, speaking from my own observation, it is a maneuvering business. I know so many who have married in the full expectation and confidence of some one particular advantage in the connection, or accomplishment or good quality in the person, who have found themselves entirely deceived, and been obliged to put up with exactly the reverse!" (5.22).
Mary's description of marriage as a "maneuvering business" is very revealing about her attitude. Mary sees marriage as a game of chance, basically, or like a Forrest Gump box of chocolates, where you never know what you're going to get.
"Depend upon it, you see but half. You see the evil, but you do not see the consolation. There will be little rubs and disappointments everywhere, and we are all apt to expect too much; but then, if one scheme of happiness fails, human nature turns to another: if our first calculation is wrong, we make a second better; we find comfort somewhere [...]" (5.23).
Though Mrs. Grant is speaking specifically about marriage here, her attitude makes a good life philosophy – it's a sort of an ongoing pursuit of happiness idea.