When presented with the idea of a heroine, we immediately think of a female who displays great daring and boldness through extreme action. Such females included could be Joan of Arc or even Harriet Tubman. With surface observation, Fanny Price could not be described to be such a character. To many, she is everything that the other residents of Mansfield Park are not: reserved, humane, thoughtful, and pitiable. Whilst Austen satirizes her more comic characters for their vices, Fanny is always described sincerely and plainly. Although displaying all the characteristics of a background character, Fanny is the heroine of Mansfield Park. As the book progresses, the reader comes to sympathize more and more with Fanny, to admire her strength or will, purity of heart, and good judgment. Her characteristics are best portrayed through her rejection of Henry, actions in the face of temptation, and how everyone recognizes her qualities.
Throughout Henry Crawford's proposal to Fanny and everyone's persuasion for her hand in marriage, Fanny stood true to her convictions. Although Sir Thomas felt that this was a great honor and privilege to have a young noble man of such character in pursuance of Fanny, she doubted Mr. Crawford.
How could she have excited serious attachment to a man, who had seen so many, and been admired by so many, and flirted with so many, infinitely to her superiors "who seemed so little open to serious impressions, even where pains had been taken to please him "who thought so slightly, so carelessly, so unfeelingly on all such points "to him? (MF, 208-209).
Fanny repeatedly answered to Sir Thomas that it is true that she is refusing Mr. Crawford. By doing so, Fanny does not kowtow to the norm of society in the role of a typical woman who would accept the offer of such a noble young man. Take for example Maria who married Rushworth who helped her father's reputation.