Moral Epiphany In The Character Of Emma

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Emma wants to be a good daughter and “she hope[s] she [is] not without a heart” (Austen 1815: 353). She helps people, for instance, she sent Mrs. and Miss Bates “the whole hind-quarter… There will be the leg to be salted... which is so very nice, and the loin to be dressed directly in any manner they like” (Austen 1815: 162). Claudia L. Johnson sees Emma as a one “who considers performance of untold acts of kindness a duty attached to her social position required no announcement or praise” (qtd. in Byrne 2004: 81). Another view on this is presented by Bernard J. Paris; he writes that Emma “is motivated in any of her relationships by her need to maintain the various components of her idealized image. As a result, she is almost always, to some extent, insincere” (1978: 82). In the film viewers can also notice how Emma tries to be good with everybody, she visits Bateses and an old lady to help her, she does everything so that her father feels comfortable.
The novel “reveals
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It may be considered as the “central moral epiphany in the novel” (Scheuermann 2009: 117). Although Emma and Miss Bates are believed to be friends, Emma insults her at Box Hill. Frank Churchill says that Emma asks everybody to tell “either one thing very clever… or two things moderately clever – or three things very dull indeed” (Austen 1815: 347). Miss Bates being known as “a great talker upon little matters… full of trivial communications and harmless gossips” (Austen 1815: 22) answers to that “with the most good-humored dependence on every body’s assent... ‘I shall be sure to say three dull things as soon as I open my mouth, shan’t I?.. Don’t you all think I shall?’” (Austen 1815: 347). Emma cannot resist and says ‘Ah! ma’am, but there may be a difficulty. Pardon me – but you will be limited as to number – only three at once’

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