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Chapters 4-8

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Chapters 4-8

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Chapters 4-8

Chapters 4-8

Chapters 4-8

With Sir Thomas absent, nearly everyone at Mansfield Park is engaging in play-acting. While Fanny does it to survive, the others do it for amusement or to "practice" being adults. Edmund plays at being family patriarch, and does a fair job of it, despite his occasional neglect of Fanny. Maria, despite her engagement, plays at being a coquette. Mrs. Grant plays at matchmaker, and Mrs. Norris, of course, plays at being both mother and father to the Bertram children. Play-acting can be seen as both a beneficial exercise--something these young people must do to learn to be adults--and as a morally questionable act--something that can cause trouble, as Maria shows. When the group undertakes "real" acting in the next chapters, issues of sincerity and morality become even more prominent.

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Regarding Maria Bertram and Mrs. Norris in the last chapter

by baerro, March 14, 2013

Regarding Maria Bertram and Mrs. Norris in the last chapter, neither leaves England. When Austen writes that "an establishment [is] being formed for them in another country," she does not mean continental Europe. Here, "country" simply means another part of the same country (most likely somewhere in the countryside). They are still in England.

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