Chapters Read: 24 - "I'M DONE!"
Sanity Level: Relieved
Update: Ding dong the Park is dead. Which old Park!? Mansfield Park!
Does anyone remember that episode of Seinfeld where the crew talks about being "master of their own domain"? There's a moment (about an hour after the bet is made) that Kramer slides into Jerry's apartment and slams his money down on the counter and states "I'm out!"
Kramer just gave up. He quit. He couldn't do it. Err, or in this case, not not do it. I had that moment yesterday with Mansfield Park. I put the book down without a bookmark in it, gave it a glance, and didn't even think "Gee. I'll have to find my page again." At that point I knew I wasn't going to pick it back up.
I had about 80 pages left. I am not disappointed with my choice to give in. I am relieved.
I would like to think that I have a great love of books and great literature; but thankfully Mansfield Park is not considered great so I am still in good standing there. Now about the Park...
Mansfield Park is a conversation about the Regency era. I suppose that's why so many people hate it and that's why my connection to it has been strained; this is a book not relevant to today. We can take Pride & Prejudice and move it into the 21st century and talk about its themes of a love-hate relationship; I can take Sense & Sensibility and compare it to Daria and have a dialogue about raw emotion versus cold logic. I cannot do that with Mansfield Park; it is better left in the past.
I spent the entirety of this novel trying to figure out what it was about; I claim--as I have previously--that this is a book about nothing. I think that is the best compliment that I can pay it. I'm going on the assertion that Jane Austen herself was looking at the upper echelon of society (much as Fanny Price was doing) and saying to herself: there is absolutely nothing going on here.
It's why the characters speak so much about one another. It's why they put on a play that has no point. It's why they go for a long walk in the park; these people are a tragic bore and Austen knew it. It just took me 400 pages and shouting "I'm out!" to get it.
Side Notes: "I'm out!"