It can be useful to examine the values and ideas of a novel through the character
and portrayal of one character. Mary Crawford is a character central to the themes and
events of Jane Austen's Mansfield Park. At all significant points in the play, barring only
Fanny's rescue from her parents, she is either present or involved. Through such a
character, a great deal about the morality and ideas so central to this book can be revealed.
However, examination of a character and the way that character is portrayed can become
especially useful when comparing a book to a film based on the same material. Through
the changes, or the similarity, in the portrayal of the character, it becomes again possible
to examine the values behind the production. Patricia Rozema's version of Mansfield
Park, made in 1999, projects modern values onto character 'living' in the early 19th
century. This projection, however, is more appropriate then one might imagine, and is
almost necessary to make the character necessarily despicable.
Mary Crawford is a vitally important part of the story of Mansfield Park. She
provides one of the key complications in the plot and is essential in it's role as a study of
character and morality. She is also key in her role as a contrast to Fanny Price, the more
Before one can fully understand Mary's vital role in the unfolding of events at
Mansfield Park, it is first important to understand exactly who Mary is and where she fits
in to the story. The story revolves around the family that occupies the vast estate of
Mansfield Park. Years earlier, they had taken into their care the daughter of Lady
Bertram's sister, who had married below herself and now had many children and no
money. The girl, Fanny, had grown from the age of ten, in the household of Sir Thomas
and Lady Bertram, and their children Tom, Edmund, Maria and Julia. Some years later,
when Fanny reaches s...