Thursday, August 22, 2013

Emma


Emma was so clueless! Emma is the story of Emma Woodhouse, a very vain girl who basically thinks herself better than everyone else. She assumes that she is smarter, higher class and more clever. She fancies herself a matchmaker, which takes her on an interesting adventure through the lives of her friends and family. I can see why someone decided to make a modern interpretation of Emma. Emma is vain, but endearing. Jane Austen fills her novel full of drama and distinct personalities. It is all seen through Emma, but the personalities of the other characters shine through (wasn't Mrs. Elton insufferable?!). Emma takes a journey and I think she becomes a better person. 

I was excited and enthralled by Emma.  It's pretty close to becoming my favourite Austen...  I often found myself talking to Emma or rolling my eyes at her. I connected with her even though she was not always sympathetic.  I really enjoyed her cluelessness. I called all the matches, even the ones that didn't relate to Clueless, but I was an outsider looking in.  Emma saw what she wanted, used her ideas of society and propriety and wishful thinking.

After reading Sarah's guest post on Roof Beam Reader (the host of Austen In August), I've been thinking about marriage in Austen's novels and in Austen's time.  You really did not want to be an unmarried woman. Except for maybe Emma, if the women in the novel did not get married or have some other man to take care of them, what would become of them?  Become a governess?  A low-paying job with little respect (which I don't understand, wouldn't you want the person taking care of your children to feel some sort of attachment to them?  If you didn't respect or pay them well, how well would they teach your children?).  Look at what happened to the Dashwoods in Sense and Sensibility. In Pride and Prejudice Mrs. Bennet's overly-eager behaviour regarding marrying off her daughters can be understandable if they would be left destitute otherwise.  I suppose that was another time.  At least now, a woman can make a living (almost as much money as a man, but that's another topic) and not worry about being homeless if she doesn't marry.  (For more, read Sarah's post.)

Was "Jane" a common name in Jane Austen's time?  Or does it signify something in the characters who bare the author's name. Jane Bennet, was a quiet, lovely girl and so was Jane Fairfax (I really liked and felt sorry for Jane Fairfax for most of the novel). After difficulties and misunderstandings, they find love, though not front and centre like Lizzy and Emma.

Emma certainly left me thinking more than I expect it would.  I knew I would like Emma, I just didn't know how much I would love it..... Now I have to watch Clueless


Austen in August is hosted by Adam at Roof Beam Reader.


4 comments:

  1. Great post! I always felt that Emma meddled in other people's lives because it was entertaining (as a young girl without siblings or friends in a small community), but also because she genuinely wanted others to be happy ... although she equated happiness was a good match. Yes, poor Jane Fairfax. She's just a pretty, quiet orphan. How terrible it would have been to be the subject of everyone's gossip before, during and after your visit.

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    1. I didn't see Emma as meddling for fun, but the next time I read it or whenever I watch the movie, I might change my mind. That might also be me with Clueless playing in my head for half the book.

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  2. 'Vain but endearing' - that's the perfect description of Emma.
    Great review :)

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    1. Thanks! I really liked Emma, though she was so frustrating. A good character, I think.

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