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Playing to Win The Game of Speculation in Mansfield Park In Jane Austens novel of social commentary Mansfield Park Mary Crawford and Henry Crawford are two characters that exemplify the concept of double consciousness as is depicted in the scene where the family at Mansfield Park plays the card game Speculation This game however like much of Austens work is played on more than one level During the course of the card game Henry also speculates upon what it would be like to be a tenant of Thornton Lacey and Mary stops speculating about what it would be like to be mistress of Thornton Lacey but neither speculate openly The family of Mansfield Park however is new to the game and are in the position of having the Crawfords teach it to them just as they are only slightly aware of the social game the Crawfords are trying to play Throughout this scene the reader is forced to examine both what they say and what they leave unsaid to learn of their speculations And as with all games Henry and Mary Crawford are playing to win Henry begins by suggesting the card game Speculation to Fanny and Lady Bertram and is more than happy to teach them and manage both their cards as well as his own His actions show that he perceives that he will gain the trust and approval of both Lady Bertram and Fanny by doing so As Lady Bertram puts it I am never to see my cards and Mr Crawford does all the rest 216 Also in this way Henry delicately manages the conversation bringing it around to the subject of Thornton Lacey However careful his manipulations of the conversation Henrys detailed plans for the improvement of the parsonage reveal him to have thought about the subject in depth despite his statement My plan may not be the best possible I had not many minutes to form it
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