Weaver weaves in his thoughts on marriage at colloquium

Ashland University professor shares thoughts on the novel, “Mansfield Park”

Dr. Russell Weaver speaking to Ashbrook Scholars about Mansfield Park

Mansfield Park, a novel written by Jane Austen, questions the increasing social standard or income taking priority in a marriage.

Dr. Russell Weaver, professor of English, explains his view in front of fifty to seventy Ashbrook Scholars at the Dauch College of Business on Friday, Jan. 20.

Weaver has been teaching at Ashland University for over thirty years.

Weaver assigned the Ashbrook Scholars to read Mansfield Park, about a woman named Maria who is ready to marry a wealthy man named Rushworth. However, a man named Henry also flirts heavily with Maria and another character named Julia.

The book has many characters; the main discussion of the class was how love is portrayed in the novel, and if money is how you should view marriage rather than true love.

“In this whole discussion, there was no mission for love whatsoever,” Weaver explains, as the characters in the novel were to marry people of the upper class and not in the spirit of love.

The scholars and Weaver have a great discussion about this phenomenon.

“I don’t think the book portrays that, I think the book likes to flirt around with the idea just to create chaos,” one scholar asked.

“Anything is possible,” Weaver said as he conversed with the scholars about marriage with money.

“When things of value are exchanged, people get greedy,” he added. “Maria was getting interested in Henry, but she was already engaged to Rushworth.”

The scholars, along with Weaver, exchanged some laughs about the novel and how critics viewed one of the characters as too moralistic and physical problems alienated from being a moral character.

“He will be taken in at last,” Weaver said, quoting Mrs. Grant in the novel about Henry chasing love instead of money. “Do you buy that?”

Most people say a good marriage means you have to have money, according to the novel.

This raises the question of whether it is ethical to do this or not. Maria is the prime example of ethics in the novel.

“There is no nice and cozy answer to things, which is why I kinda like it,” Weaver said as the discussion ended, explaining that there is no set of “good guys or bad guys” in the novel.

It merely states how you portray those situations and opinions on marriage.