7Seven Things to Say About “Emma”

I love all of Jane Austen’s novels, for years I was set on my ranking…

  1. Persuasion
  2. Pride and Prejudice
  3. Sense and Sensibility
  4. Emma
  5. Mansfield Park
  6. Northanger Abbey

Though I have always stood firm on my rankings, I think now  I would rank them as

  1. Persuasion/Pride and Prejudice
  2. Emma/Sense and Sensibility
  3. Mansfield Park
  4. Northanger Abbey

I know this doesn’t seem like a big difference, but I have read and reread these books so many times.  I have also listened to the audiobook versions over and over until I could basically lip-sync the story.  Though Emma had always been on the lower half of the list, the more I read, or listened to the book, the more I enjoyed it.

Here are 7seven things I have to say about “Emma”…

  1. Emma is your basic know-it-all young adult, she is also mistress of Hartfield taking on the role after her mother passed.  That is a lot of responsibility given to a young woman who already regards herself as highly as Emma regards herself.  Emma believes she knows what and who is best for all of the supporting characters in her life.
  2. Emma has lost her governess, the woman who kept her grounded Miss Taylor.  Miss Taylor is still in the area as the new Mrs. Weston, but as a newlywed she is less available to Emma.  Emma also believes herself to be the matchmaker that brought Miss Taylor to Mr. Weston’s notice.
  3. Without the companionship of Miss Taylor, Emma takes on a project Harriet Smith.  Harriet is the daughter of no one knows, and Emma is determined to help Harriet out into society.  She is also determined to see Harriet married to whom she thinks Harriet should be married to.
  4. Jane Fairfax is an orphan who was taken in by a family friend and given a great education.  Emma is constantly reminded of how great Jane is at everything whenever she visits with Mrs. Bates, Jane’s Aunt.  The accounts of Jane’s brilliance come to them through letters that Mrs. Bates insists on reading to anyone and everyone.  Emma is consistently jealous of Jane throughout the story, with very little reason to be.
  5. Frank Churchill is Miss Taylor now Mrs. Weston’s stepson, he was raised by an Aunt and Uncle when his mother passed away.  Frank always promises to visit his Dad Mr. Weston, but always seems to find a reason not to.  When he finally comes into the area Frank and Emma are pushed together as a possible match.
  6. All of these characters and many more make up this story, secret engagements, unwanted attentions, annoying newcomers, surprising friends, and another great Jane Austen proposal.
  7. George Knightly… ahh Mr. Knightly, he visits with Emma and her Father everyday.  Mr. Knightly shares his opinions openly with Emma, he lets her know when she has acted spoiled or childish.  There is one issue I have with Emma and Mr. Knightly as a couple, and I hate to bring it up because he is in fact a favorite of mine.  But Mr. Knightly is 16 years older than Emma and can recall her as a baby, that is a little “ick”.  

If you have not read “Emma” you must, it is a great novel with a very unlikable heroine.  What I love about this book is that we can see Emma’s faults, and yes we all have faults, but in the end she grows and learns and changes.  She doesn’t change for anyone, she changes because she needs to change, and she sees the harm she has done.

 

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