Friday, April 8, 2016

I Just Watched Wives and Daughters...(And it reminds me strongly of Mansfield Park)

...and why couldn't we get a slightly more romantic ending? I mean, it was great and charming and all, but...holding hands doesn't count.
I was told, however, that Elizabeth Gaskell died while writing the ending, so perhaps that explains it. I really, really want to read the book, but alas, our local library does not have it. I shall keep my eye out.
Well, the under-romantic ending reminded me of Mansfield Park by Jane Austen. And that made me realise just how much of Wives and Daughters is like Mansfield Park in many ways. So--a comparison is in order.
Now, the characters that correspond with each other do not necessarily have as much in common in their personality and such; it's mostly the relationships. Of course, some character's personalities are very similar indeed.
Let us begin with Molly, of course. 
Molly's situation reminds me slightly of Fanny's. My best friend has pointed out that Fanny's story is very much a Cinderella story, and Molly's is as well. However, Molly's situation isn't as bad as Fanny's, really. 

Now, have you noticed that Fanny and Mary Crawford are similar to Molly and Cynthia? They aren't necessarily similar in character, of course, for Cynthia isn't quite as "bad" as Mary and Molly isn't quite as "good" as Fanny, but their relationship and situations struck me as quite similar. I must do this in some order or I shan't make any sense:
- Molly dosen't really have any (girl) friends, and then Cynthia, who is quite different from her, comes along and they are fast friends. 
Fanny hasn't got friends, and then Mary Crawford comes and takes quite a fancy to her and they are friends. 
- Cynthia got engaged to Molly's brother-like friend, whom she didn't love (she liked him) but who convinced himself to be in love with her, and then Cynthia broke off the engagement.
Mary got herself engaged to Fanny's cousin who was like a brother to her, whom she didn't really love, but he convinced himself he was in love with her, and then Mary broke off the engagement. 
In both cases, the man fell victim to looks, charm, and wit and then the both eventually came to their senses--but I'll get to the men. 
- Cynthia is rather more of an extrovert and Molly is more of an introvert. 
Mary is more of an extrovert and Fanny is definitely an introvert. 

-Cynthia was at first inclined toward Osborne out of monetary interest because he was the eldest son, but her tastes soon inclined toward Roger.
Mary Crawford was at first inclined toward Tom because he was the eldest and would inherit the estate, but she soon was attracted to Edmund.
-Cynthia is rather inconstant and accepts admiration from anyone.
Mary is also rather inconstant and while she's not as much of a "flirt" (it seems rather strong to use that word for Cynthia, oh dear...) as Cynthia, she doesn't stay as single-minded to Edmund as perhaps she should have.

-Osborne got very ill (and died).
Tom got dangerously ill.

Now, the whole Roger-and-Molly thing and Edmund-and-Fanny thing are very strangely similar in many ways:
-Roger was kind to Molly when she went to stay with the family and they became like brother and sister.
Edmund was kind to Fanny when she went to stay with the family when nobody else was and he became like an older brother to her.
-Roger came across Molly when she was crying and he talked comfortingly to her.
Edmund came across Fanny when she was crying and talked comfortingly to her.
-Molly, it is strongly implied, falls in love with Roger soon into the story (I really need to read the book, perhaps it is clearer). For sure she falls in love with him before he does with her.
Fanny falls in love with Edmund before he falls in love with her. 
Both girls are in love with their respective men when they get engaged to their friends Cynthia and Mary. 
-Roger realises after Cynthia breaks of the engagement that he is in love with Molly after all.
Edmund realises after Mary breaks off the engagement that he is in love with Fanny after all. 
-In Wives and Daughters, at least in the movie, the ending seems rather underdone to me. 
In Mansfield Park...the ending is very disappointing in how shortly it wraps it up. Of course, I can understand that Jane Austen was probably tired of drawing it out and wanted to finish it, but it barely mentions Edmund and Fanny's engagement. Really, it just basically says that Edmund might just like Fanny as well as--or even better than, hey!--Mary Crawford and Fanny was very happy about it, The End. 

There. Aren't they strangely similar? Of course, they have their differences, but still--! 
I just kept thinking of things and I tried to write them down as I thought of them and I'm terribly sorry if it's all jumbled. Did I miss any similarities? 
Have you noticed the same similarities?


  1. Wow. There are a lot of similarities between these two books. Very good points, Rae! And I agree with you about the endings. I really would have appreciated more details about Edmund and Fanny's relationship, too. Still, sometimes less is more, and perhaps after all it would have been too complicated and long to write out the whole process of how they came to an understanding.

    As to Molly and Roger. *Ahem* Not quite my idea of a romantic ending. Walking together in the dessert? Blah. And Molly wearing pants?!! Just no. Haha ;) The fun thing is, that isn't in the book (since Elizabeth Gaskell never got to the point of telling us how Roger proposed or what their life was like after they were married) so...yay!...I can make the ending whatever I want it to be. ;)

    Very cool post, Rae! :D

    1. Yeah, I can kind of understand with Mansfield Park that Jane Austen was probably just ready to be done with the book, because after all it winds on and on and on and then she just wraps it up, lickety-split, with a couple of paragraphs about Edmund and Fanny. Oh, well.
      Right?! Not exactly the most romantic thing. I haven't read the book yet, so I don't know where Elizabeth Gaskell left off, but when I do then I can decide what I think she would have done! I suppose the producers did a fine job, though. It just isn't necessarily true because Elizabeth Gaskell didn't write it! What comfort. :)
      Thanks so much! Thank you for your comment!


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