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The plot of the novel is essentially a simple one, and has been compared to the fairy story Cinderella in the way that a poor girl wins her Prince Charming. Chapter 1 begins with an account of the events that lead up to Fanny’s arrival at Mansfield, and Chapter 48 ends with her as mistress of Mansfield Parsonage. Like a conventional fairy story, the novel opens with a traditional flourish, which might be paraphrased, ‘Once upon, a time there were three sisters’, and ends with the married couple living happily ever after. This broad pattern can be found in Jane Austen’s other novels, and it is a formula which provides the reader with a great deal of satisfaction.
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