Mansfield Park

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Mansfield Park Chapter 41 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
After Edmund has been in London for a week, Fanny still has not received a letter from him. She does, however, receive a visitor—one day, Henry arrives at the Price’s door.
Fanny desperately awaits a letter from Edmund, knowing it will carry news of his engagement to Mary, or his rejection.
Themes
Money and Marriage Theme Icon
Letters and Character Theme Icon
Henry talks with Fanny’s mother as Fanny recovers from the shock of his appearance. Once Fanny is a little less stunned, Henry describes his travels to her, and then suggests they go for a walk. Fanny accepts, and takes Susan with her. On their walk, they run into Fanny’s father, much to Fanny’s dismay. Mr. Price, however, is on his best behavior, and he and Henry seem to get on well.
Fanny is embarrassed for Henry, who is used to being around refined, well-mannered people, to meet her crass father. Portsmouth and Mansfield are clearly very different and separate lives for Fanny, and her humble origins embarrass her now.
Themes
Manners vs. Morality Theme Icon
Inheritance and Meritocracy Theme Icon
Mr. Price offers to show Henry the dockyard, and he accepts. On the walk there, Henry talks of his business in Norfolk, and describes going out of his way to meet his tenants, a kind act that endears him to Fanny. They then talk about Mansfield, which Fanny is happy to do, but when Henry implies that Edmund and Mary will hopefully be engaged soon, Fanny sours.
Henry’s act of going to meet his tenants, which he is doing to appeal to Fanny, is an act that transgresses traditional class boundaries. Fanny, with her own ability to rise through class strata, is Henry’s inspiration for reaching out to those below him.
Themes
Inheritance and Meritocracy Theme Icon
Henry tells Fanny he came to Portsmouth only for her, which Fanny is not happy to hear. Despite this, Fanny is surprised to find that she has really enjoyed Henry’s company on this visit. After the walk, Mr. Price invites Henry to dinner. Henry tells them he has other plans, but promises to come back the next day.
Though she enjoys his company, Henry’s continued pursuit of Fanny still makes her uncomfortable. When Henry rejects the invitation to dinner, he restores the class distinctions between them.
Themes
Money and Marriage Theme Icon
Inheritance and Meritocracy Theme Icon
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