every little social commonwealth should dictate its own matters of discourse;

Category: Class | Type: Discussion | Title: Persuasion (in Context) | Author: Jane Austen | Ch: Chapter 6

Though slipped in off-handedly, the image of the family as a little commonwealth with its own heritage and individually determined cultural identity, is a sort of hologram throughout Austen's fiction: the state is the family writ large, the family the state writ small. The views coincide closely with Shaftesbury's (Search).

The royal family has grave responsibilities to the citizens, such as the father and mother have to their children, and the children are to demonstrate the respect and maturity that will enable the family to flourish in the next generation. Central to this tacit contract are the country gentry, whose estates are family commonwealths, the kingdom in miniature. The country estate's well-being figures most  prominently in the Austen novel whose title is that of the estate, Mansfield Park.

 

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