Sunday, January 10, 2010

Finishing Emma

I finished Emma last night & enjoyed it very much. Emma isn’t quite as spoiled as I’d always thought her. She does make mistakes but then a perfect heroine would be boring. She’s almost set up for failure by being described as rich, handsome & clever in the first sentence. I think that’s what has always got me offside in the past. And the first half of the book, with her schemes for Harriet & her unfriendly attitude towards Jane Fairfax, does annoy me. But, by the end, I couldn’t help feeling that her errors are on the side of friendship & love – except maybe her jealousy of Jane Fairfax but that springs from an acknowledgment of her own laziness & lack of application. There are lots of other things to admire in Emma apart from the heroine. Mrs Elton is appallingly wonderful. She & Mr Elton truly deserve each other. Mr Woodhouse is as tyrannical as ever in his own way. It’s interesting that Emma does everything she really wants to do while still soothing her father & making him think it was all his own idea. Very clever, but then she’s had a lifetime’s practice. So, I enjoyed Emma more this time than I ever have before & I’m looking forward to watching the BBC series when it pops through my letterbox.


  1. Mrs Elton really is a wonderful concoction, isn't she? A female Mr Collins when it comes to annoying characters!

  2. Isn't it interesting that the funniest proposals in Austen are by clergymen? Mr Collins & Mr Elton - what could be more excruciating? And Mrs Elton is so self-satisfied, she's one of those people who just don't read the social signals. Or maybe they do but just don't care.

  3. I love Mrs. Elton and I mock her so often that I fear that many people will end up really thinking that my references to "Caro Sposo" or "Maple Grove" or "Barouche Landaus" are actual dreadful taste instead of a mockery of such!

    Emma can be endearing (or co-dependent??) in the way she tolerates her father so steadfastly. All of Austen's heroines need to learn serious life-lessons before they can achieve their happy ending, I think.