22 July 2007

Mansfield Park


Jane Austen's Mansfield Park has been my lunch read for the last two weeks. I've seen the (1999) film two or three times and enjoyed it immensely, but I've never managed to finish the novel. I like Fanny Price very much, but she is so passive she sometimes makes me want to grind my teeth and throw the book across the room. Probably her passivity annoys me, because I see how necessary it is and how little good fighting might do her. She has no wealth, no beauty, no talent or charm with which to acquire even the limited freedoms open to her cousins.

I know, of course, that she ends up with Edmund rather than the (reformed) rake, Mr. Henry Crawford, but I have difficulty reconciling myself to that "happiness."

Oh, Mr. Henry Crawford! How I wish you had loved Fanny a little bit more! Edmund is a good sort of fellow and will keep Fanny content, I am sure, but I would love to see her pushed to passion.

Who knows? I'm miles from the end yet and everything is still possible. Perhaps Edmund will push her to passionate speech? Speak passionate love, Fanny?!

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen (Headline Review, 2006)

02 July 2007

Safety


Currently listening to Barbara Kingsolver read her essay collection Small Wonder and (somewhere around the middle of the first disc) she asks:
How much do we need to feel blessed, sated, and permanently safe? What is safety in this world, and on what broad stones is that house built?
After discarding a bunch of foolishness, my answer turned out as simple as this: the circle of my husband's arms.