Abstract

Abstract:

This essay argues that a close reading of language in Mansfield Park—especially the words "duty," "gratitude," "obligation," and "ought"—correlates patriarchy with mental slavery and marks Fanny Price as the text's representative slave. Yet, to borrow a phrase from William Blake, the same linguistic "mind forg'd manacles" that enchain Fanny also constrict the rest of the characters in the romance. In Mansfield Park, no person is free. Ultimately, the essay contends that Austen's romance unmasks patriarchy as an inescapable system of mental slavery, and it sheds light on the complexities and subtleties of language in this work as countless scholars have already done in Austen's other novels, which, unsurprisingly, often foreground the thematic importance of specific words in their very titles.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1934-1512
Print ISSN
0039-3827
Pages
pp. 197-212
Launched on MUSE
2018-07-21
Open Access
No
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