Theme Of Anxiety In Jane Austen's Emma

2126 Words 9 Pages
Like a cloud in the sky, anxiety is looming. Anxiety can be triggered by several causes, and the weather oftentimes can be this trigger by affecting people’s decisions and even attitudes. During the early 1800s in England, human population was rapidly increasing especially in large cities. With the increase of people, there was also a rapid increase of disease and sickness. Medicine and science were advancing during this time, but “[m]edicine in 1800 was a scary combination of chance … [d]octors might recommend a 'change of air ' along with vomiting and laxatives and those old favourites, bleeding or leeches” (Robinson). Many of the illnesses prevalent in the early 1800s were caused by exposure to cold, damp weather. It is undeniable that weather plays a significant role in Jane Austen’s Emma, but it is the anxiety caused by the weather that plays an even more significant role. The term “under …show more content…
Economically, the citizens of Highbury thrive and make use of their money on seemingly trivial impulses due to their anxiety about the weather. Their money allows them to afford carriages, servants, and the apothecary, Mr. Perry, to ease their concern originating from the weather. The tensions between genders throughout this book also reveals the patriarchal hierarchy prevalent during early 1800s English society. The men use their ability to control women in order to cover up their anxiety fostered by the weather. The constant feeling of sickness and poor weather threatens the characters’ power over money, themselves, and their sanity. Allowing the weather to hold power over their lives shows just how weak the “superior” class citizens are in Austen’s Emma. Jane Austen ultimately uses her characters’ weather-induced anxiety to shed light on the issues between caused by money, male power loss, and the inner

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