Emma In Jane Austen's Emma

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Written by Jane Austen in 1815, this novel showcases the life of a young lady as she navigates the social circles of 19th century England. Emma Woodhouse is infamous throughout the city of Highbury for her extraordinary matchmaking skills. She meets Ms. Harriet Smith and sets out to find her perfect suitor. Throughout the novel, Emma and Harriet encounter much trepidation due to Emma’s mistaken assumptions. Hearts are captured, broken, and mislead in Austen’s novel of plot twists, character development, and enchanting romance. Austen successfully uses humor and character contrast to showcase that not everything is at seems in face value; therefore basing actions on only self-made assumptions can lead to undesirable results. Although wordy and …show more content…
Within the novel, Austen uses her skills of classic wit and language that aids the reader in understanding the error of Emma’s ways. When Emma first meets Harriet she quickly and unprofessionally decides that her perfect match would be Mr. Elton, despite Harriet's unknown parentage. As the story progresses, Emma assumes that Mr. Elton’s support of Harriet Smith is because he has fallen in love with her, but this isn't the case. Emma entirely misinterprets Elton's intentions. There are moments when Emma realizes his attitude and actions do not add up -- but she merely attributes this to the fickle nature of new love. Mr. Elton writes a letter to the lady of his affections, which Emma believes is Harriet. Within this letter is a poem that describes the woman as beautiful and with a ready wit. Emma’s response can be found in the following: “Harriet’s ready wit!… A man must be very much in love, indeed, to describe her so” (Austen 71). Emma, clearly, does not think Harriet’s wit deserves such a description as she is of average appearance and personality. However the way Austen delivers this statement, leads the reader to conclude that this was …show more content…
Her family’s advisor and the only person openly critical of Emma is Mr. Knightly. Throughout the novel Mr. Knightley proves himself to be an excellent companion to Emma and her antics. Knightley is the only character who is openly critical of Emma, pointing out her flaws and failures with frankness, out of genuine concern and care for her. In this respect, he acts as a stand-in for Austen’s and the reader’s judgments of Emma. One of the flaws that he points out is her inability to listen to the advice or insight of anyone other than herself. This is showcased in the novel when Mr. John Knightly, brother to Mr. Knightly, attempts to tell Emma Elton’s true intentions with spending so much time around her and Harriet. She instantly disregards him saying, “I assure you you are quite mistaken. Mr. Elton and I are very good friends, and nothing more” (Austen 112). Had Emma listened to Mr. Knightly and been more open to the suggestions of others, the unfortunate love confession may have been handled better. Mr. Knightly and Emma also disagree over her advice giving, when Harriet receives a proposal from the humble and hard working Mr. Martin and Emma tells her to decline his interest as he is not of “gentlemanly material”. He disapproves of her meddling and shows his irritation as follows: “Upon my word, Emma, to hear you abusing the reason you have, it is almost enough to make

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