Emma: The Typical Jane Austen Novel

Emma: The Typical Jane Austen Novel

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JANE AUSTEN, who writes the novel Emma, was the greatest novelist belonging to the second Romantic Age. She wrote only six novels of which Pride and Prejudice and Emma are famous.

Jane Austen moved in a limited society. She was familiar only with that. So her novels are domestic novels. She never writes about a world which h she does not know. As such she deals with her story knowingly and confidently. The resultant novels are highly remarkable artistic successes.

The great charm of Austen's novels lies in their truth and simplicity. The society in which Austen lived was a convention-ridden society. Austen holds a mirror to that society in her novels. In the society in which Jane lived, the only aspiration of a young girl is to get married. So Jane Austen selects the theme of marriage in all her novels. Even Emma ends in the celebration of three marriages.

Jane Austen's novels are called drawing room novels. Emma is a typical drawing room novel. Almost all incidents in the novel take a place in the drawing room of Emma. Emma Wodhouse is the daughter of a valetudinarian. Her governess Miss Taylor assumes the role of a guide and friend to her in moments of loneliness.

After a time Miss Taylor gets married to a man called, Mr. Weston and leaves the Wodhouse family.

Then Emma brings to her house a girl called Harriet Smith, a daughter of unknown parents, to keep company with her. She assumes the role of a guardian to Harriet Smith and makes her reject the marriage proposal of a young peasant called Richard Martin, on the pretext that he is below her in rank.

Next Emma takes it upon herself toe marry Harriet Smith in a high place. So she arranges meetings between a vicar called Elton and Harriet Smith to promote a marriage between them. But one day Elton proposes to marry Emma and Emma declines. However, Elton's proposal is not out of love. So he marries another lady who brings him ten thousand pounds.

Later a man called Frank Churchill enters into the lives of Emma and Harriet Smith. Even by that time Frank Churchill was secretly engaged to a girl called Jane Fairfax. Ignorant of this connection, Emma plans to get Harriet smith married to frank Churchill.

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However, Frank Churchill pretends to be in love with Emma. Emma temporarily develops a fancy of love towards Churchill. Loyalties clash in her heart and her conscience oscillates between her love towards Churchill and her plan to get Harriet Smith married to him. Later at the opportune time Churchill declares his engagement to Jane Fairfax.

Emma is doubly disappointed. When she is in a depressed and dejected mood, Mr. Knightly, the owner of the church nearby comes to her as her conscience keeper. Till that moment Emma thinks that she is wise. But her life is proved to be a comedy of errors. Mr. Knightly makes her realise her follies. Emma then knows that she is unconsciously in love with Mr. Knightly. He proposes and an engagement is made.

At the instance of Mr. Knightly, Richard martin proposes to Harriet Smith for the second time and se agrees. So the three marriages are celebrated in the end: Harriet to Richard, Jane Fairfax to Churchill and Emma to Mr. Knightly.

Thus, Jane Austen deals with this complicated plot in a simple and perfect fashion. The characters are true to life. The dialogues provide both amusement and enlightenment. Jane's Emma is a perfect work of art.
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