Jane Austen's Approach to the Character Emma in Pride and Prejudice

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Jane Austen's Approach to the Character Emma in Pride and Prejudice 'Handsome, clever and rich' are the complimentary words Jane Austen lavishes upon Emma; accurate as they may be, they paint a picture contrary to the Emma portrayed during the first half of the novel. Set against the nineteenth century patriarchal society, structured by the privileges and constraints of money and status, both of which she acquires, a complex mental journey faces her. The journey, however is one she is oblivious to and one to which the predominate barrier is her apparent good fortune. Jane Austen plays the role of an omniscient narrator providing dialogue whilst also supplying constant commentary into the thought process of the heroine. Armed with her arrogance and additional ' unsavoury traits' Emma interacts with influential acquaintances that act as catalysts along her journey to self- discovery. Emma Woodhouse has, as a result of various events, had to grow- up quickly and therefore has mistaken her power, authority and prestige at an early age for maturity. Due to her mother's death and her sister's marriage she is the mistress of her house, which in her time was the main objective of a woman's life, so Emma having achieved this status so early in her life is regarded as being superior to other females. Austen is suggesting that she is a victim of her ' indulgent father's affection and being so well thought of within her community, furthermore having encountered no source of criticism from her father or governess regarding her behaviour, has prevented her recognising and therefore correcting her imperfections. During Emma's time, young l... ... middle of paper ... ...out it more' and after proposing to her she accepts only after expressing concern for her father displaying her loyalty and love for her father. She also feels for Harriet and pities her during a time of elation. Unlike the all the other marriages entailed in Emma, neither Emma nor Mr Knightley seek economic security or social elevation through their marriage, Austen is insinuating that they will prove to be a successful match. Emma Woodhouse embarks on a journey to self- discovery, this journey encounters various set- backs as well as use full experiences. It is only when acquaintances directly or indirectly compel her to discontinue her vain attempts to manage people's lives and focus on her own that her journey is concluded. Emma is moulded into the accomplished young woman whom she always had the potential to be.

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