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The Portrayal Of Slavery In Jane Austen's Mansfield Park

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Mansfield Park is a novel written by Jane Austen in the early 19th century. It was published on 1814 in London, England. Her novel has been subject to controversy because of its mentions of slavery throughout the book. Through a modern lens, it is easy to look down upon the casual nature of slavery in Austen’s Mansfield Park. Nevertheless, we should not frown upon the way she incorporated slavery because it was accurate for its time, and, if you take a closer look, Austen’s writing in the novel actually recognizes the immorality of slavery. Involvement with slavery during the early 1800s was nothing out of the ordinary. Austen’s novel, Mansfield Park, takes place in a large and luxurious estate owned by the Bertram family. Sir Thomas, the father and head of the family, supports their extravagant lifestyle by running a slave plantation in Antigua. “You are very good, but do not trouble yourself about them. They are sure of being well provided for. Sir Thomas will take care of that.” “Why, you know Sir Thomas’s means will be rather straitened, if the Antigua estate is to make such poor returns.” “Oh! That will soon be settled. Sir Thomas has been writing about it, I know”(Austen, 23). In this small excerpt from Mansfield Park, Mrs. Norris and Lady Bertram are having a conversation where the Antigua plantation comes up. It is brought up casually, and is clarified as the main source of income for the family’s lifestyle. Through this conversation, Austen makes an attempt to
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