Journaling with Jane Day 3: Mansfield Park

Welcome to Day 3 of Journaling with Jane. Mansfield Park is our topic today, and we will be looking at feeling like an outsider, based on the experiences of the novel's heroine, as our theme.

Mansfield Park is a very different novel to Pride and Prejudice,  with an entirely different heroine. Poor Fanny Price has none of Elizabeth Bennett’s fire – on a first reading. Read through again, and she has a quiet patience and determination.

Throughout the novel, Fanny feels like an outsider; first at Mansfield Park itself, where she is very much the poor relation of the Bertram family, and then again when she returns back “home” to Portsmouth and finds that her life at Mansfield Park has changed her.

Jane writes frequently about this sense of being ‘outside’ and about inclusion – we see it again in Emma in Miss Bates.

Now, open your notebook, and take 15 minutes to write or draw on what inclusion or being ‘outside’ means to you.

If you would like, here are some further prompts:

  • When do you feel ‘outside’?
  • What makes you feel included?
  • How can we increase inclusion?
  • Do you ever make anyone else feel like an outsider?

In Mansfield Park, we also see that Fanny loves nature and is hugely influenced by the passing of the seasons and being outdoors – an idea that was crucial to the Romantic period in which Jane was writing.

For a more Romantic-era journaling prompt, inspired by Mansfield Park, we suggest:

  • What does nature mean to you?
  • How does having access to nature affect your mood?

Mansfield Park was the first of Jane’s novels to be wholly written during her time at Chawton Cottage