by Jane Austen
Mansfield Park Theme of The Home
Home isn't always what others expect or what it's "supposed" to be in Mansfield Park. In fact, homes, especially the idea of what home is, are often unexpected here. Home is not a static, or unchanging, concept. Rather, the idea of home can change as people move to new houses, unite with new friends or lovers, or simply change their way of thinking. For some characters, home is a matter of memory, familiarity, and habit. For others, home is tied to wealth. But no matter what sort of definition of home is at work, different ideas of home remain a driving force behind characters' ideas and actions.
Questions About The Home
- Mary is dismayed when her fantasy home with Edmund is ruined by some comments by Sir Thomas. Do you think that Mary and Edmund every had a similar view of what their future home and their future lives would be like or not?
- Maria and Julia are so desperate to escape their home that they rush to marry. Given the time period and gender constraints, could they have done anything else about their suffocating home situation?
- How are certain characters defined by their understanding of what home is? Do different understandings of home give us insight into certain characters?
Chew on This
Home is an always evolving concept for the characters in Mansfield Park.
Home improvement is a running theme here, but it's a misleading one. Notions of "improvement" really have more to do with characters and their mindsets, particularly their thoughts on change, than actual houses.