Upward social mobility is considered the primary theme of all of Austen's novels. Discuss how the novel's opening chapters address this theme.
The British aristocratic social system is based on the concept of primogeniture, the right of the first-born son to inherit the parents' entire estate. How does Austen treat this class system in Mansfield Park?
Although the Antigua plantation doesn't at first seem important, it plays a vital role in the novel. Discuss how Sir Thomas's Caribbean estate functions in the novel as a whole.
The word "improvements" is used throughout Mansfield Park. Discuss the social significance of improvements.
How does Austen utilize wit - the clever, and often humorous association of words or ideas - to develop characters? Focus on one particular character.
Fanny Price spends a great deal of the book sitting and waiting. We see this in particular in Chapter XI, which describes the visit to Mr. Rushworth's Sotherton estate. Discuss the significance of Fanny's waiting in this chapter in particular and her waiting throughout the novel as a whole.
The Bertram brothers, Tom and Edmund, are very different. Discuss their differences in light of Austen's objections to the British aristocratic social class system.
"While the cat's away, the mouse will play." The production of Lovers' Vows occurs despite the fact that the whole cast knows that Sir Thomas would disapprove. Discuss why he might feel this way, and the consequences of his absence on his family. Consider the entire novel.
Many times Austen's books deal with the loss of illusion. For instance, in Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennet must overcome the illusions she had concerning Mr. Darcy. How does Austen deal with the loss of illusion in Mansfield Park?
In one of his letters, Edmund writes of his love of Mary Crawford and Fanny. Juxtapose these two female characters and describe how and why Edmund ultimately chooses one over the other.