nearly nothing

Category: Writing & Reading | Type: Discussion | Title: Mansfield Park (in Context) | Author: Jane Austen | Ch: Chapter XVIII

Fanny's hold on a place in Mansfield Park is tenuous. She verges on being "nearly nothing," passive, quietistic, and finally a negative form. There is a rightness to her being compelled at her most defiant moment to say "no" rather than "yes." But in this world "yes," advances the ego and will, whereas "no" repudiates them while creating negative power. What further distinguishes Fanny is that while most people who are compelled to say "yes" or "no" slip into resentment Fanny is free of that corrosive emotion.  

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