she must yield

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

A decisive yet brilliantly ambiguous moment. Again, the description sets Fanny in the negative. She doesn't agree but instead must yield. Fanny cannot say that she does not know the part. Nor, though, does she say outright—we don't see the words—that she will participate but offers what is a tacit consent. True to her occupying a passive, negative space, she agrees without positively saying so.

That "Every body was satisfied" seems to indicate that she has agreed, for upon that "They DID begin." Fanny is spared a definitive "yes." Yet she does submit to Edmund's wishes, even though they go against her principles and her interest in separating him from Mary. But she does better than he in not rationalizing her change of mind, because, it appears, she knows herself to be wrong in principle. 

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