Mansfield Park

Family Man and Morality: A Study of Edmund College

While Edmund first shows himself to be compassionate and morally grounded as a character, he also shows that these qualities, as well as his own perceptions, are capable of being corrupted, mainly due to his romantic attachment to Miss Crawford in spite of her questionable moral foundations; these distortions of both Edmund’s values and his social awareness lead Edmund to become ignorant of Fanny’s affections toward him and makes him unconcerned with Fanny’s well-being to boot: Edmund’s lack of regard towards Fanny makes him largely to blame for the decline in physical and mental health she experiences throughout the novel.

Fanny’s first encounters with Edmund while transitioning into life at Mansfield Park show something contrary to the detachment Edmund exhibits later in the novel. In these encounters, the reader learns quite a large amount about Edmund’s good character in only a few pages. Edmund establishes his kind nature to the reader by helping Fanny write a letter to her sorely missed brother: “He continued with her the whole time of her writing, to assist her with his penknife or his orthography, as either were wanted; and added to these attentions, which she felt very much, a kindness to her brother, which delighted...

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