Mansfield Park

Mansfield Park

Mansfield Park Chapter 21 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
With Sir Thomas’s return to Mansfield, the family is much more somber and less social. Sir Thomas refuses to let anyone besides Mr. Rushworth visit. Edmund laments the exclusion of the Grants, and says that he thinks Sir Thomas would like Mary if he knew her. Fanny disagrees.
Sir Thomas’s desire for quiet and his lingering anger about the play means that the family returns to its stiff, antisocial pace. Edmund suffers since he can’t see Mary, while Fanny sides with Sir Thomas, wanting to keep Mary away from him.
Themes
Money and Marriage Theme Icon
Manners vs. Morality Theme Icon
The Country vs. the City Theme Icon
Fanny says she doesn’t mind the quiet evenings, and then self-deprecatingly suggests that it is because she is strange. Edmund rejects that conclusion and proceeds to compliment her, telling her that Sir Thomas has found her very pretty since his return, and wishes she would talk more. Fanny is flattered. Edmund then proceeds to talk about Mary’s many virtues, frustrating Fanny.
Fanny’s affinity for peace and quiet, which connects her with the quiet of Mansfield and the countryside, contrasts with Mary’s love of excitement and sociability. When Edmund compliments Fanny, he does so on behalf of Sir Thomas, so while Fanny is flattered, the praise is unsatisfying.
Themes
The Country vs. the City Theme Icon
Fanny mentions the fact that Edmund, Tom, and Sir Thomas are going to eat at Sotherton with Mr. Rushworth tomorrow, and hopes Sir Thomas will continue to like Mr. Rushworth. Edmund doubts that will be the case. Edmund turns out to be right, and Sir Thomas, recognizing how unappealing Mr. Rushworth is, talks to Maria to ask if Mr. Rushworth is really her husband of choice. Maria, who has given up hope that Henry will propose to her, confirms that he is, satisfying Sir Thomas’s concerns.
Sir Thomas approved of Maria’s engagement to Mr. Rushworth before meeting him because of his wealth and status. However, when Sir Thomas doubts his character, he offers Maria an out. Maria, though, sees no point in declining Mr. Rushworth’s proposal since Henry has not offered an alternative.
Themes
Money and Marriage Theme Icon
Manners vs. Morality Theme Icon
The families make the wedding arrangements and Mrs. Rushworth starts to organize to move to Bath and leave Maria and Mr. Rushworth with the house. Not long after Sir Thomas’s return, Maria and Mr. Rushworth are married. After the wedding, Maria and Mr. Rushworth take off for a trip to Brighton along with Julia, leaving the Mansfield Park quieter than ever.
Maria’s marriage to Mr. Rushworth is described without much fanfare, highlighting how it is more business-like than passionate. Now that Maria and Julia are no longer in competition, their relationship returns to being close, shown by how Julia goes with them to Brighton.
Themes
Money and Marriage Theme Icon
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