by Jane Austen
Mansfield Park The Home Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
"I do not know that her being sorry to leave her home is really against her, for, with all its faults, it was her home, and she cannot as yet understand how much she has changed for the better; but then there is moderation in all things" (2.6).
Mrs. Norris's ridiculous comment about Fanny's justifiable homesickness also reveals how "home" can be a very relative concept. Though Fanny might be living in a "better" home now, she certainly doesn't see it that way.
"My dear Henry, have you nothing to say? You have been an improver yourself, and from what I hear of Everingham, it may vie with any place in England.[...]."
"Nothing would be so gratifying to me as to hear your opinion of it," was his answer; "but I fear there would be some disappointment; [...] as for improvement, there was very little for me to do – too little – I should like to have been busy much longer."
"You are fond of the sort of thing?" said Julia.
Home improvement is a running theme throughout the book, and the notion of "improvement" itself is linked to ideas of action and activity. The idea of Henry as an "improver" reveals, among other things, that he's restless and that he always needs to be involved in some sort of project or scheme, whether it's chasing after a girl or fixing up a house.
"That she should be tired now, however, gives me no surprise; for there is nothing in the course of one's duties so fatiguing as what we have been doing this morning – seeing a great house, dawdling from one room to another – straining one's eyes and one's attention – hearing what one does not understand – admiring what one does not care for" (9.72).
Mary discusses a truth that still applies today: people love showing off their own houses, and other people often find this pretty boring. In this era, the nice homes of wealthy families were often opened up to the general public, and people could come "tour" the house.