Holding on can be hard work.

On his blog Snakes and Ladders, Alan Jacobs quotes from Tony Tanner’s book, Jane Austen, a passage about the heroine of Mansfield Park, who is the opposite of an activist, in that she seems to do so little. But is she then inactive? Jacobs shares a good chunk of analysis that Tanner makes of one scene in Mansfield Park, which Jacobs thinks is “the single most brilliantly conceived and executed scene in all of Austen.”

Jacobs compares Austen’s Fanny Price to the character of Franz Jägerstätter in Terrence Malick’s new film, “A Hidden Life,” in the way that (quoting Tanner): “In her stillness she is not inactive: on the contrary, she is often holding on strenuously to standards and values which others all around her are thoughtlessly abandoning.”

I was very impressed by Mansfield Park when I read it a few years ago, but I missed the subtleties of the scene in the park when Fanny sits on a bench, while her friends are busy coming and going around her; you might like to go to Jacobs’ blog to read about it. It’s not long.

I’ve never read one of Alan Jacobs’ books, but I have read numerous essays by him and listened to him interviewed on a breadth of topics on the Mars Hill Audio Journal. He is always thought-provoking. I’ve also not seen “A Hidden Life” yet, but I surely am eager to. It’s likely that many of my readers have thoughts on the film, or the broad topic of quietness in the midst of noise, etc. As always, I love to hear them.

But if you prefer to remain silent, I can appreciate that, too. Jane Austen herself is quoted in the article as having asked a pertinent question,

“What is become of all the shyness in the world?”

8 thoughts on “Holding on can be hard work.

  1. Well, isn’t this interesting? I just yesterday listened to a podcast episode about this film. Speaking with Joy is the podcast. https://joyclarkson.com/podcast I first heard of this young woman when I read a very well-put review of Little Women (the film) by her.

    It’s funny about Fanny Price; I often hear it said that she is rather a boring character, two dimensional. But when I read that book all I could think of is that she seemed a good Catholic girl. 🙂 So much like the old-fashioned idea of what a young woman should be like.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is so intriguing – now I will have to go back and read Mansfield Park again. I just finished watching the old BBC 4-part series of Emma, and I’m in the right frame of mind for more Austen.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My parents raved about how good A Hidden Life is, but it was in such limited release that I missed it and now am waiting for it to either come out in video at the library or on some streaming service. It is slow moving, they said, though the film and the message are so beautiful they need time to sink in.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. How funny that yesterday I began writing a blog post of my own with thoughts of holding on. It truly can be hard work.

    I liked Jacobs’ blog post, thanks for linking. Been ages since I read Mansfield Park, but this makes me want go through it again. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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