Getting into it this time was, I have to confess, a bit difficult for me. I still like MP, but... well, it's probably on the bottom of my list of JA favorites. Which I almost hate to say, because it has a reputation it doesn't deserve of being not as good, and I still think it deserves more love. But I was having a hard time getting into it. One excuse, though, was that there was a lot of Distraction going on in my life at the time. (Ahem. :D) When I read it the first time, of course, it was New and therefore more interesting (even though I'd already seen the BBC miniseries and knew the basic story--it's still different to actually read the book).
Anyway. Whenever this does happen with JA, generally when you get further into the story you become more attached to it, and that, as well as actually determining to spend more time reading, moved things along a bit.
So, as I've already done reviews of all 6 of JA's main novels, I like to just talk about my thoughts on rereading the story--what I thought differently this time, what new I noticed, etc. There wasn't really that much of a difference... although I have to say that this time I was *cough* a tad little bit more sympathetic with the Crawford siblings. *cough, hide*
They're still horrid villains and everything. It's just that I kind understood them a little better, even though I didn't particularly enjoy the feeling. HA. And of course by the END it's just like... wow, you two are even worse than I thought. (Especially Henry. What a... I can't even... who could seriously think Fanny was wrong to refuse him by the end? Besides Mrs. Norris and Mary Crawford who are jerks and don't count? Goodness, even Sir Thomas admitted she'd been right!)
Okay, so I guess I didn't actually think any better of Henry this time. It was just that he didn't drive me quite as insane the entire time. I guess it was Mary I liked a little better. She can be rather amusing, and she's not exactly the evil scheming sort. I wasn't any less annoyed with Edmund for falling for her, though, haha... and still a little annoyed with him at the end, too, how he kept going on about that it was all owing to her upbringing and otherwise she would have been perfect. You know what... whatever. She's just not, okay? She is what she is. And though a lot is often due to upbringing/influence, some people can come through things and still turn out better... especially in stories, although of course he doesn't know he's in a story. (snicker-snort)
Well, anyway. Moving on. So, if you've read the book (and if you haven't you probably shouldn't be reading THIS), you know how towards the end it plunges into the most of the Heavy Stuff. In fact it's probably the Heaviest Stuff of any Jane Austen book ever. Which is why when I turned a page and started in with what ends up being the last chapter and saw--
Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery. I quit such odious subjects as soon as I can, impatient to restore every body, not greatly in fault themselves, to tolerable comfort, and to have done with all the rest.
--this sort of Rush of Happiness went over me and I was like, YAY JANE! This is why I love you so much!! Haha, obviously she was getting a little tired of it all, too.
Although I do still wish she'd have spent a little longer once everyone was restored to comfort. I should have liked to see exactly how everything happened with Fanny and Edmund, and instead she leaves most of it to supposition. Sigh. Well, she tells us the general end, but as to details, they are left to our own inferior imaginations. :P
However, I could just envision how lovely it could all be in a movie. Honestly... why hasn't anyone done it?? There is so much New Stuff that can be done with a Mansfield adaptation, a REAL one in which everybody is portrayed like they're SUPPOSED to be... argh. Anyways. Come oooon, BBC! I confess I was rather hoping the fact that the 200th anniversary being next year would inspire them, but alas, it would seem not...
And I really do think that it is all finished nicely even if I would want it to be longer. I mean, Mrs. Norris is out of the picture with good riddance and everyone is happy. Maria is ruined and deserves it. (Although maybe I would have liked to see Henry a with a bit more of a comeuppance.) Susan Price gets to stay at Mansfield and doesn't have to live with the horrid Prices anymore. Tom improves. Sir Thomas is no longer an idiot about certain ideas he had concerning Fanny (namely, that she should have accepted Mr. Crawford, and that she should not marry one of his sons, haha); and it's a bit morbid of me but I found this hilarious: "...Dr. Grant had brought on apoplexy and death, by three great institutionary dinners in one week..." (cough). And of course, Edmund and Fanny live happily ever after.
One thing bugs me though, and that is this--
Could he have been satisfied with the conquest of one amiable woman's affections, could he have found sufficient exultation in overcoming the reluctance, in working himself into the esteem and tenderness of Fanny Price, there would have been every probability of success and felicity for him. His affection had already done something. Her influence over him had already given him some influence over her. Would he have deserved more, there can be no doubt that more would have been obtained, especially when that marriage had taken place, which would have given him the assistance of her conscience in subduing her first inclination, and brought them very often together. Would he have persevered, and uprightly, Fanny must have been his reward, and a reward very voluntarily bestowed, within a reasonable period from Edmund's marrying Mary.
What... no. Jane. Please. DON'T. Don't indicate that Fanny would have married Henry in the end if all that Stuff hadn't happened. How could you do that to your own Fanny?? It's rather like the indication that Marianne wasn't really in love with Col. Brandon at the time of marrying him. (My thoughts here.) I prefer to have my own opinion on these subjects. Heh.
Just the same, I finished the book with the same sentimental feeling I always get when finishing one of Miss Austen's stories... and this little sigh escaped me which then made me giggle because it wasn't at all premeditated. Haha.
Anyway. I'll stop rambling now and close with two random quotes I scribbled down. (I wasn't very good at writing down quotes this time...)
"There is not one in a hundred of either sex, who is not taken in when they marry. Look where I will, I see that it is so; and I feel that it must be so, when I consider that it is, of all transactions, the one in which people expect the most from others, and are least honest themselves."
"I was quiet, but I was not blind."