Having formed her mind and gained her affections, he had a good chance of her thinking like him

Category: Education | Type: Discussion | Title: Mansfield Park (in Context) | Author: Jane Austen | Ch: Chapter VII

"Having formed her mind"—there can hardly be a more powerful connection, at least for Fanny. Her feelings for Edmund spring from the same soil as those for her brother William. Affections that spring from an older sibling who is also a teacher and protector are for Austen the most solid and most pure. (A model is her own relationship as a child to Cassandra, whom she idolized and from whom she was inseparable.) 

Education that is grounded in affection and emulation has the further advantage of the strongest sort of learning. We will what we desire. We can contrast this with Mrs. Lee's "sneering" at Fanny.

Analogously, fiction, as Austen argues in Northanger Abbey, may be a more potent teacher than history for fiction develops the reader's imaginative sympathy with the characters,  

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