Analysis Of The Novel ' Jane Austen And Empire ' Essay

752 Words Nov 2nd, 2015 4 Pages
Edward Said 's essay 'Jane Austen and Empire ' (1993) states that Mansfield Park (1814) is an imperialist novel, Austen imploring us to accept and appreciate the role imperialism had in society at the time. I disagree with this view point, believing that Austen is instead using Antigua as an ironic statement on the planter-class emerging at the time. Through writing on the function of space, geography, and location in Mansfield Park, Said suggests that Austen uses small scale relocations in order to imply the larger scale tensions occurring across the globe. The movement of Fanny from Portsmouth to Mansfield in the opening chapters of the novel can easily be seen as synonymous with the movements of the slave trade around the globe. Fanny becomes a commodity, a domestic version of the colonial movements of Sir Thomas. The publication of Mansfield Park, only seven years after the Abolition of the Slave Trade, easily allows readers to view the novel as a commentary on slavery. Fanny 's movement from the near-impoverished Portsmouth to the spacious, impressive Mansfield Park suggests that these movements better both the Fanny, or in larger terms the slaves, and the family as a whole. Fanny 's life is bettered by her relocation, as is the Bertram 's home. These movements therefore become desirable and necessary for the Bertrams, just as the slave trade is necessary for families such as the Bertram 's to survive.

Said, however, is subscribing to the idea that the Bertrams are…

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