Analysis of Emma

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Literary Analysis of Emma

Jane Austen's, Emma, is the story of a woman who thrives on meddling in the relationships of others, while neglecting the possibility that she may want one herself. This piece of work explores the role that class structure plays in society, friendships and marriages, as well as the self-transformation of the main character, from an arrogant rich girl to a competent woman. Through the exploration of these two themes, Austen creates a timeless piece of writing.

Emma plays on both sides in relation to maintaining social structure. On one side, Emma takes Harriet, a young woman of a lower class than Emma, under her wing and attempts to advance Harriet’s social status. Emma decided that she "would take notice of her; she would improve her; she would detach her from her bad acquaintance, and introduce her to good society; she would form her opinions and her manners." (18) Despite the fact that Harriet is already a part of the social class that she should be, and having made many friends and acquaintances, Emma insists that the friends that Harriet has made are not good enough for her.

In 1815, when the novel was first published, class structure was of a very high importance when looking for a spouse; above all other qualities such as compatibility, desire, and character. Despite her wanting to find, what she seems as, a suitable husband for her beloved friend Harriet, Emma "dismisses the young farmer Robert Martin as unworthy of Harriet" ( ). Instead of happily encouraging a marriage between two people who had a genuine interest and like for one another, Emma persuades Harriet into declining Roberts offer because of his low standing social class, and looking for a husband of one higher than her own. ...

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... same lowly farmer that Emma had originally deemed as unworthy of Harriet. Though quite unimpressed with the farmer in the beginning of the novel, Emma expresses her happiness for the couple. It is at this moment that Emma admits that when Mr. Martin that proposed to Harriet the first time, "[she] was a fool." (375) to think that the two should not be together. Though initially the first one to point out the faults of others, in the end Emma is able to see and admit her own faults. The story has come full circle, and Emma is far from the person that she initially was. Emma has begun her transformation from an arrogant caterpillar to an accepting butterfly.

Emma is a timeless piece of writing about how social class played an important role in society and that growth of oneself must occur in order to have a fighting chance and finding a love of one’s own.

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