En defensa de Fanny Price

 parque Mansfield

Una encuesta reciente realizado por un usuario en Goodreads pidió a los participantes que votaran "qué heroína de Jane Austen te gusta menos". La encuesta obtuvo 1118 votos en total (en el momento actual), y la gente fue decisiva al afirmar qué heroína de Austen merecía la mayor parte de su disgusto, o quizás más bien el menos de su agrado. La ganadora bastante desafortunada, con un 27,3% con 305 de los votos, no es otra que la residente de Mansfield, la Sra. Fanny Price. La siguió Emma con 243 votos y, quizás bastante sorprendente para muchos de nosotros, Elizabeth Bennet con 201 votos como menos simpática.


Quizás piense que se trata simplemente de una encuesta; nada que valga la pena escribirle a Mansfield y nada por lo que la señora Price deba llorar hasta quedarse dormida. Desafortunadamente, sin embargo, esto parece ser un consenso general; Fanny Price no es muy querida por los lectores de Jane Austen. Fanny ha sido llamada tenso, moralmente recto, aburrido, sin agallas y poco interesante. Además, parque Mansfield ha sido nombrado como el más impopular de las obras de Austen. He escuchado a personas comparar el personaje con el de otro personaje de Mansfield, a saber, Mary Crawford, y afirmar que prefieren el último de los dos.
    

Afortunadamente, hay quienes vienen a Fanny's y MansfieldLa defensa, citando varias razones por las que gran parte de las críticas son injustas, y este es el coro al que quiero sumar mi voz. Ahora debo admitir que parque Mansfield no es mi novela favorita de Austen, ni nunca lo fue. Sin embargo, tampoco sé si es mi menos favorito. Cuando lo leí por primera vez cuando era adolescente, inevitablemente lo comparé con los libros de Austen que ya había leído; Orgullo y prejuicio, Emma y Sentido y sensibilidad. Podría decirse que Fanny es una heroína mucho menos proactiva que las heroínas de estos libros, y la infeliz infancia que soportó la convirtió en una lectura conmovedora. Siempre se la ha comparado con las heroínas más vivaces y brillantes como Elizabeth Bennet y Marianne Dashwood. Sin embargo, creo que esperar que Fanny sea igualmente vivaz y sin reservas no solo es injusto, sino que es un flaco favor que se le hace a su personaje, que pasa por alto su propio tipo de individualidad y fuerza interior.


En primer lugar, está su infancia. Fanny tenía apenas diez años cuando la apartaron de su familia para vivir en la finca de Mansfield con personas que nunca había conocido en su juventud. A partir de ese momento, la mayoría de las personas de la casa, excepto Edmund, la tratan mal, desde la frialdad y la indiferencia hasta la condescendencia y la crítica. Su rencorosa tía Norris le recuerda constantemente su inferioridad social, y la familia siempre la mantiene a distancia, sin recibir nunca el mismo afecto y atención que los demás niños de la casa. También debemos recordar que cuando se desarrolla la mayor parte de la novela, Fanny todavía es una adolescente. Aunque se puede decir lo mismo de Elizabeth Bennet y Elinor Dashwood, con el comienzo en la vida que tuvo Fanny, ¿quién puede sorprenderse de su timidez y ansiedad social?


En segundo lugar, está su amor por el teatro. Se ha hablado mucho de que Edmund y Fanny juzgaron a los demás por montar una obra de teatro en ausencia del dueño de la casa. Esto se ha citado a menudo como la razón por la que la gente llama a Fanny moralista y cuadrada (otros incluso han atribuido una aversión al teatro a la propia Jane Austen, lo que no puede estar más lejos de la verdad, pero ese es un tema para otro día). claramente disfruta del teatro y estaba deseando poder ver la obra. Su verdadera preocupación por las obras de teatro parece deberse a sus preocupaciones por sus dos primas María y Julia, ambas enamoradas de Henry Crawford, y a quienes Fanny considera que están en peligro de sufrir dolor de corazón y humillación por actuar en la obra. con el coqueto y sin escrúpulos Henry Crawford.


Esto nos lleva a mi tercer punto; su negativa de Henry Crawford. Para una mujer de la situación social de Fanny en la era georgiana rechazar la estabilidad financiera por principio es, yo diría, innegablemente admirable. Ella se resiste a las presiones de los ancianos de su familia, incluso el señor Thomas, a quien siempre ha tenido mucho miedo, y permanece firme en su posición incluso cuando es desterrada de Mansfield. Sus habilidades de percepción se desprenden claras de su comprensión intuitiva y compleja del carácter de Henry. Esto, creo, la mayoría muestra su fuerza de carácter y principio.


Por último, está su amor por Edmund (pasaremos por alto su relación cercana, como podría decirse que la mayoría de los georgianos lo harían). Al leer Mansfield Park como adulta, me duele la empatía por Fanny mientras observa a la persona a la que amaba enamorarse de otra mujer. Su tormento privado mientras observa a los dos, Mary Crawford y Edmund, enamorándose poco a poco, es desgarrador. El corazón plagado de Fanny duele a lo largo de las páginas, hasta que finalmente llega a su conclusión feliz después de mucho dolor y confusión, y creo que un final feliz en el amor no es menos de lo que se merece. Desde un niño pobre, pasado, asustado a una joven que, a pesar de su miedo, se niega a ser acobardada para casarse con alguien que no ama, simplemente para beneficio económico, y esto, creo, la hace muy digna de ganarse el amor del héroe al final, así como el amor del lector.

 Anna-Christina Rod éstergaard es estudiante universitaria de 26 años, actualmente lee para una maestría en Inglés y Filosofía en la Universidad de Aalborg en Dinamarca. Ella rToda novela de Austen al menos una vez al año y rara vez lee un libro que tiene menos de un siglo. Es una amante de la historia, la literatura, el folclore, los cuentos de hadas y, por supuesto, Jane Austen. Si usted, como Anna-Christina, desea hacer una contribución al blog de Jane Austen, lea nuestras instrucciones sobre cómo Enviar un blog

10 comentarios

I cannot relate to Fanny. I have known women who are similar to her, who put up with terrible people and circumstances then never say anything back to their tormentors. I prefer heroines who stand up for themselves and fight back, either 3verbally or physically.

Things pretty much just happen around Fanny in the novel. I find her passive, weak and boring as day-old boiled rice.

Sure she stands by her beliefs, but being lauded for turning down a cad with money shouldn’t be the best thing she ever did in the book. Why didn’t she tell her uncle about Henry’s real character? Her fans claim it’s because she didn’t want to get her two cousins in trouble with their father and that she didn’t want Henry to be affected too.

And what happened after she turned Henry down and she was sent back to her impoverished family? Henry ran away with her skank of a cousin and the other cousin eloped with another man. Scandal galore for the Bertram family.

The problem for me is that Fanny did not take any steps to intervene. She knew she was right about the Crawfords, but she did nothing to warn the others. If she was so afraid of Sir Thomas, why didn’t she tell Edmund about Henry’s behavior toward her cousins? I’m not saying she could have predicted Maria’s fall from grace, but she could have at least given Maria’s brothers or father an idea that Henry was not to be trusted.

The book’s male lead is also not interesting. Edmund is a boring, uptight man who talks about morals but acts like a hypocrite when it comes to Mary. And I never bought his change of affection from Mary to Fanny. He needed a clergyman’s wife who would share the same beliefs as him and be content with whatever income he receives. How convenient that his besotted meek cousin fits the bill.

Letty septiembre 05, 2021

I have to make a comment as Mansfield Park is the novel that introduced me to the brilliance of Jane Austen long before Colin Firth emerged in his wet white shirt. I love Fanny for her strength of character and faithfulness to what she believed to be right. Her behaviour is a sign of her gratitude to her Aunt and Uncle Bertram and I admire her that she did not express any resentment toward her Aunt Norris’s insensitive treatment. I love her uncle’s statement to Aunt Norris that her lack of attention to Fanny actually was a good thing as it didn’t help his own daughters. I have to say in all honesty I am not a big fan of Elizabeth Bennet and love Fanny much more. Yes Edmund was beguiled by Mary Crawford but at least he saw that Fanny was by far superior in the end. I can forgive him as he was so kind to Fanny when she first arrived at Mansfield as a child. She only loved him and could never marry anyone else. Bravo Jane for your wonderful insight into human character and for giving us such a variety to enjoy.

Eril Maybury marzo 19, 2021

Funnily enough, Fanny has always been my favorite followed by Anne Elliot then it’s probably a tie between Elizabeth Bennet and Elinor Dashwood. I like Emma the least. I found Fanny’s moral fortitude to be endearing.

Christi Mancha marzo 19, 2021

When this Fanny versus Mary question came up in my reading group, all elderly, mostly women, I paraphrased the question of who would you prefer as a dinner companion, to who would you prefer as a daughter-n-law? That made a difference! No one wanted Mary Crawford; they knew she wouldn’t be faithful.

JULIA marzo 17, 2021

She was so damn meek and mild she drove me potty

Jeannette marzo 17, 2021

There’s no question that Fanny, as a person, is virtuous. Nobody can question her virtue, her backbone, her behavior. But Fanny is not a person, she’s a fictional character, and that obligates her to be interesting or entertaining, and I find Fanny as interesting as cold mashed potatoes.

Rather than comparing perfect Fanny with the incomparably quick-witted Lizzie or flawed but entertaining Emma, let’s compare her with an Austen character she’s most like, Elinor Dashwood. Elinor is long-suffering; without her, Elinor’s mother and Marianne would be poor, living beyond their means; in a less deftly-written novel, they’d be practically ready to sell Margaret into servitude to meet their expenses. Elinor’s gentle wisdom goes far in keeping her mother’s emotion-based-behavior, if not Marianne’s, in check. Without Elinor’s kindness, wisdom, and gentle charm, people would be at each other’s throats, emotionally overwrought, and broke.

Elinor deserves her happy ending because she’s done so much good for her family and her friends. (I still think she’d be a better match for Colonel Brandon, but what can you do?) Fanny’s not a bad person, but she’s boring, and her happy ending is ending up with the least desirable, least deserving, most boring of Austen’s so-called heroes, and ending so bland that I’d rather have cold mashed potatoes.

Had there never been a Fanny Price, I suspect some people would look down their noses at Elinor; but we have Fanny, who is a limp dishrag of a character because she’s neither compelling nor interesting, she’s not funny, and she doesn’t seem to see what’s funny in others’ folly. Being morally upright alone, with no other characteristics, is fine for a tertiary character, but a heroine must have verve.

Both Elinor and Fanny are shocked by people’s bad behavior and seek to turn them toward better, but where Elinor is a benignly stalwart grown woman, Fanny is an implacable child, one with good moral underpinnings but little real joy. She might have gotten along with Mary Bennet more than any other Austen character, but at least one can laugh at, if not with, Mary. (That said, if Mary Bennet read any Jane Austen novels, there’s no doubt she’d prefer Fanny (and Anne, and Elinor) to Elizabeth, Emma, and Catherine).

Fanny provides no charm, no amusement, no appeal…and this Austen reader finds this far more grievous a sin than an unchaperoned date or letters to a gentleman to whom one is not engaged. I can forgive Lizzie’s quick and false assumptions, Emma’s lack of self-awareness, Catherine’s childlike inability to discern fantasy from reality, or even (oy, vey) Marianne’s overwrought emotions. But I cannot abide a character who never makes me laugh, or with whom I could never share a laugh. Too much moral virtue, and too little of anything else, is a poor recipe for a protagonist. Pass the hot sauce or take away the mashed potatoes.

Julie Bestry marzo 17, 2021

I remember navigating a fledgling World Wide Web in the mid-nineties just in time for the opening salvo in what came to be known as the Fanny Wars. Although Fanny isn’t as outwardly engaging as the Elizabeths and Emmas, I think both of those heroines would appreciate Fanny’s character, discretion, and discerning judgement. My dissatisfaction is that Edmund doesn’t deserve her.

LynnS marzo 16, 2021

The thing about Fanny that is most impressive is her adamant refusal to do things she perceives as “Wrong”. She is very much on the “straight and narrow path” and no one is going to pressure her to do otherwise. This is admirable consistency for a person who is basically shy and timid — it seems that insignificant little Fanny has a backbone of steel — beneath her unassuming exterior there is more strength than one would expect.

Bonnie Monsanto` marzo 16, 2021

Fanny Price is an observer of the people around her, intuitively knows goodness in them when she sees it and is the only character in the story who recognizes the Crawfords for the delightfully charming but shallow predators that they are. I think Fanny’s innate goodness is probably why people dislike her. Lizzie Bennett IS a tough act to follow. I read somewhere that Jane Austen alternated virtues in her heroines (starting with Elinor and Marianne) and its probably not by chance that Fanny lacks the charm and quick wit of Lizzie Bennett, her predecessor, and is careful before making judgements. Lizzie, on the other hand, was quicker to judge and very sure of her own opinions. Unlike Lizzie, Fanny was not given the line, “before today I never knew myself.” and will not have to regret anything she’s ever done. I love Fanny for her goodness in the face of adversity. It’s easy to be kind and thoughtful when things are going your way, but Fanny remains true to what’s right and just even when the deck is stacked against her. Bravo!

Ginger Cramer marzo 16, 2021

Fanny the least loved Jane Austen character? Say it isn’t so. For me each character is looked at in her own merits. Fanny was the lesser cousin taken in by the suggestion of self righteous Aunt Norris. She meant it to be sort of a kindness but she wasn’t kind to Fanny herself. She would not put herself out to even think of Fanny in any other way than the way she did, lesser than. But at that time, status and class were the judge of all and Fanny learned her place and role in the family very early. And as the novel progressed and ended, we see that the whole family sees she was right all along and know her true worth. She won the fair Edward and took her place in society. A vicar’s wife was not a lofty place but it was an honorable one. And I love Fanny for uprightness and moral character. These qualities are not in too many women today.

Denisa Dellinger marzo 16, 2021

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