Study Guide

Mansfield Park Chapter 9

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Chapter 9

  • Mr. Rushworth and his mom greet everyone at the front door.
  • They decide to start by taking a tour of the house and Mrs. Rushworth leads them around.
  • Eventually, Mrs. Rushworth leads them all to the chapel.
  • Fanny doesn't think it looks romantic or gothic enough.
  • Mrs. Rushworth does her tour guide routine and says that the household used to have daily prayer services in the chapel but her husband quit doing that.
  • Mary quips that every generation has its improvements.
  • Fanny and Edmund disapprove and think that daily prayer services sound super.
  • Mary laughs at them and says that no one in their right mind likes going to church every day. She thinks it's better to just leave people alone and let them do their own thing rather than sermonize to them.
  • Fanny and Edmund and shocked and horrified. Fanny is surprised that a lightening bolt hasn't come down from the sky and struck the heretical Mary.
  • Meanwhile, Julia decides to have some fun with her sister and comments loudly about Maria and Mr. Rushworth standing together by the alter and how it's too bad they can't get married this second.
  • Henry sidles up to Maria and drops some hints about how he'd rather she not get married any time soon. Scandalous.
  • Julia carries on and says it's too bad Edmund isn't ordained as a clergyman yet or he could perform the ceremony.
  • Mary wishes she could disappear right about now and is really embarrassed that she was just bashing the church to a future clergyman.
  • She's also not thrilled that Edmund will be a clergyman. His attractiveness drops a few notches.
  • Everyone now finally heads outside.
  • We learn that Mr. Rushworth's name is James, thanks to his mom. Thanks, Mama Rushworth.
  • Everyone breaks up into small groups. Maria, Henry, and Mr. Rushworth tromp off to look at the grounds (awkward grouping). Edmund, Mary, and Fanny wander off together (also awkward). And Julia gets stuck with Mrs. Norris and Mrs. Rushworth (awkward yet again). No one formed these groups very well.
  • Mary grills Edmund about his career path and wonders if he's visited a career counselor to find out about all his options because the church doesn't sound very exciting.
  • Mary hints that no one willingly becomes a clergyman but Edmund begs to differ. Clearly, if you are as boring and as moralistic as Edmund, you do become a clergyman, so the joke's on you, Mary.
  • The two get into a rather lengthy and very interesting debate about organized religion. In short, Mary doesn't have much respect for the church and sees a lot of things wrong with it. Edmund sees the need for reform but thinks the church is overall a good thing and that clergymen do important work since people need religious guidance. Fanny agrees with Edmund.
  • Mary says that Edmund could really do something better with himself and then changes the subject.
  • Fanny notes that she's tired and they find a bench.
  • Mary and Edmund start flirting and they wander off together in order to settle a debate they are having over the dimensions of the woods. Hm.

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