Emma: An Analysis of Mrs. Elton

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Miss Augusta Hawkins, who becomes Mrs. Elton in Jane Austen's Emma, is an interesting character, in that she is unquestionably the most distinct persona in the novel. The fact that she is a new member in Highbury is not an issue for her because she wastes no time in trying to solve other people's personal problems and making their lives her business. In doing so, Jane Austen has created a character that the reader loves to hate. Augusta Hawkins is constructed so that the reader is torn between completely despising and loving her when she is in the scene due to the spiteful comments she makes and the social lives that she `improves'. Much of the dislike that the reader has towards Augusta is due to the fact that we are seeing her as portrayed through the eyes of Emma. Before the two characters meet, Emma clearly shows resent towards her and decides that she does not care for Mr. Elton's fiancé. She even prematurely states that he must have settled rather than chose Augusta as his bride. These comments made by Emma also cause the reader to be biased against her before she first appears in the novel. Miss Hawkins makes her first appearance in Highbury through conversations between other Highbury residents. Miss Bates being a busybody is distraught that Mr. Knightley was the first to inform others of the news of their engagement, but she is otherwise quite excited about the new match. There is a mixture of opinions on Augusta and Mr. Elton's engagement: Jane Fairfax displays little concern in the engagement, Mr. Woodhouse feels that Mr. Elton is too young to settle and is convinced that marriage removes people from his life, Harriet conceals her true emotions and shows modest attention to the news. Since few people of High... ... middle of paper ... ...ore of a rebound companion than a true love. Another instance is when Mrs. Elton takes Jane as her protégé, comparable to Emma taking Harriet as hers. The two of them are constantly making judgements both good and bad about others in Highbury, showing that Emma is really no more grown-up than is Mrs. Elton. Emma has a personality that is comparable to Mrs. Elton's and that is too difficult for Emma to cope with, since Highbury is only big enough for one self-centered, wealthy, and insulting woman. Every good story has a good villain, or a character that makes the reader love to hate them: Mrs. Elton is that character in Emma. She gives Highbury and Emma the match that is needed. Her amusing and gritty comments give the novel an exciting and egotistical flare. Mrs. Elton is a character worth detesting but she is also most definitely worth remembering.

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