Essay on Emma

Essay on Emma

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The reader's response to Emma is often a mixture of sympathy and
impatience. Select two episodes and discuss them in regards to this
statement.

Continually throughout Emma the reader feels a mixture of sympathy and
impatience for its main character Emma Woodhouse. The novel
illustrates her vast change in maturity, which occurs in one year. Due
to Emma's personality and disposition she will always get herself into
difficult circumstances, but it is the way she reacts to the
circumstances that broadens and matures her character. The first
episode takes place when she is in the throws of naivety, and the
other is when Emma has begun to mature and grow.

One of the classic episodes in Emma when the reader feels impatience
and sympathy for Emma Woodhouse, is when she gets herself involved in
matchmaking Harriet Smith and Mr. Elton. Throughout this episode the
reader becomes so frustrated with Emma for not noticing certain signs
that seem to be so obvious to the reader and Emma's friend Mr.
Knightley. Emma tricks the idea of matchmaking two people so different
from one another out of her active imagination. When Emma takes
Harriet Smith under her wing she has an almost selfish motive, as she
needs a companion now that her governess has been married. Although
Harriet is the 'natural daughter of somebody,' Emma feels that she can
use Harriet as her project.

Emma implores Harriet to disregard her romance with Mr. Martin and
tells her that Robert Martin is below her and that she must
disassociate herself from any connection that would lower her status
further and feels that 'if she were not taken care of, she might be
required to sink herself for ever.' When Harriet actually gets
proposed to by Mr. Martin, Em...


... middle of paper ...


...rivileged view of observer to all that is going
on; we are able to see the mistakes she makes, able to laugh at her
mischievous plots, while she is unaware of her mistakes. As the novel
progresses, however, the reader comes to take her seriously, because
of the nature of the issues addressed in the novel, and while at times
we may be 'put off' by her snobberies and claims to importance, Jane
Austen has written in such way that the reader feels sympathy for her.
Emma is a character that is not so good as to be uninteresting, nor so
cruel as to forgo sympathy. By presenting things from Emma's point of
view for the most part of the novel, the reader is able to gain an
insight into her inner thoughts and unexpressed feelings. It is
therefore easy for the reader to relate to Emma because although she
seems to have it all, she is a real person who is growing up.

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