Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Little Sleep Last Night, and MANSFIELD PARK on DVD

Here Is Obie, showin' just how high the echinacea in our yard has grown!

May 25, 2011

It's a beautiful day here in Oklahoma, in spite of the fact that I got less than adequate sleep last night. There have been big storms every night the past week, with lots of thunder and lightning. Now, while I have no trouble sleepin' through all that--my son's dog does.

Bug, the same little mutt that got fixed last week, cannot handle thunder and lightning. The few times she will desert her young master's bed and head for mine is during a storm. It seems that Obie sleeps so soundly that he doesn't wake up to comfort her. So I find her perched on MY head. Usually I can just shift her around and we go back to sleep.

Not last night.

This dog would NOT be comforted. I tried pettin' her, talkin' softly and lovin' on her. No deal. I tried makin' her get off the bed after a time, since she just wouldn't be still. Not happenin'. I threatened to toss her out IN the storm. She didn't buy it (I wouldn't have the heart to and she knows it). When she finally got in between my husband and I, up around our shoulders, she calmed down. Apparently this was not a regular 'mom's good enough' storm--this was a 'I gotta get between mom AND dad' storm. After that, we all went to sleep.

We even got a text from my brother, askin' if we had been watchin' the weather, 'cause there was a storm headed our way. I replied that there was ALWAYS a storm headed our way!

If ya'll recall, I read Jane Austen's MANSFIELD PARK a few months back, and I pretty much panned it. I didn't like the characters, and the plot was pretty dull.

Well, this last week I found the BBC production of MP, and decided what the heck, let's give it a shot. I know that sometimes there is a better understanding of a work if it is acted out instead of simply read. After all, Shakespeare was meant to be seen and heard, and only after that can it be read and truly appreciated. Besides, who better to translate Austen's works to the screen than a British cast?

So I plunged in and watched all the episodes.

I can't say that I liked it a whole lot better. The film follows the book almost perfectly. The majority of the characters are still just awful--Fanny Price is STILL annoyingly meek in may instances. However in viewing the action, it is more apparent that much of that characteristic is due to her Aunt Norris constantly telling her that she is not nor shall she ever be, as good as her cousins.

I have more respect for Sir Thomas than I did before, especially as he admits that a lot of the trouble with his daughters is due to his leaving them in the supervision of others. I STILL say that his wife, Lady Bertram, is a closet drinker of patent medicines--or else an opium smoker. I mean, come on, check her eyes, she's experimentin' with SOMETHIN'!

As for the Crawfords--they still need flogging in my opinion, and Edmund? He is not so spineless as I supposed, but he still moons over Mary Crawford like an idiot, until his eyes are opened by her callous attitude about his sister‘s adultery.

I have come to the conclusion that MP was written as a critique of Austen's society as a whole. She made the characters unlikable on purpose, giving each a personality that personified the worst of the higher echelons. In portraying the book as a social comedy or romance, she got away with pointing out many hypocrisies of the time, such as ’the burden of benevolence’, and helping the poor, but not so much as to make them think they were as good as the folks helping them. It’s easy to see why this was one of her least popular books, especially at the time it was published. It had to have been pretty obvious to the folks in her circles that they were being judged.

Oh--and one last thing about the production that kept throwin’ me off--the girl who portrayed Fanny Price needed to talk to SOMEBODY in make up and hair. I don’t know exactly what look they were goin’ for, but the way they did her make up...she would occasionally look like the late comedian MARTY FELDMAN, especially when she would do this ‘thing’ with her eyes and held her jaw a certain way. It’s obvious that she is pretty in real life, but I kept expectin’ her to say “You take the blonde, I’ll take the one in the turban!”.

And that is all I’m gonna say on the matter. (wink)

Well, I got chores. Later Ya’ll.
© 2011 by Evelyn Edgett

1 comment:

  1. Dear Evelyn,

    Congratulations on winning my giveaway! :) I know what you mean about constant storms; we just spent an hour in our basement while tornado sirens were blasting (Now we have to clean up lots of chicken poop!), and we've had a nervous weinie dog every night for a few nights now.

    I've never read or watched "Mansfield Park", oddly enough; it's the only one I think I missed of Miss Austen's! But there's probably a good reason for that, right? :)



    p.s. I can't find your email address to send the book; would you mind emailing me again?