In Jane Austen's novel, Mansfield Park, the characterization of the four illustrated families, the Prices, the Crawfords, the Bertrams, and the Rushworths, is used to depict the wide differences which evolved between social classes in nineteenth century England. Jane Austen introduces the main character, Fanny Price, as a reserved and modest young girl, who is settled upon observing the world. This attitude reflects the other members of the Price family, who do not worry about trivial things, but concern themselves with survival. The Crawfords, on the contrary, are concerned with frivolity more than necessity. They are bold and extravagant, and find themselves more interested in wealth than in character. The Bertrams, striving to maintain a life of luxury, struggle daily with their commitments to work, engagement, and reputation. Their lives are restless and stressful, and their concerns are numerous. Finally, the Rushworths are comfortable in their wealth and fortune. !.
They take the strictest pleasure in displaying their accumulations, and have no concern except for their social activities. All of these families differ in their backgrounds and, consequently, their attitudes. Jane Austen uses a variety of details throughout her novel to stress these disparities.
Fanny's life with the Prices varies greatly from her life at Mansfield Park. The Price family worries primarily about their survival. Their love for each other is limited to the amount of time that they have in the day. The clearest example of this is Fanny's mutual love for her brother William. Fanny has always had a strong devotion to William, because her life permits her to adore him freely. The need for survival is demonstrated by Mrs. Price in her attitudes towards Henry Crawford. This attitude towards survival can also be seen by Fanny, who acts as an observer throughout the novel, rarely indulging in extravagance (Lewis 62).