Discussion of Emma SOCIETY It is debatable whether the society that Austen depicts in Highbury is a realistic portrait of the society which she lived in or whether it is an idealized portrait of society as it should or perhaps could be.
Emma and the fate of unmarried women Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition, seemed to unite some of the best blessings of existence; and had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her.
All of Austen's other heroines come either from wealthy families in newly straitened circumstances Elinor and Marianne Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility, Anne Elliot in Persuasionor from families that inhabit the lower levels of the gentry or pseudo-gentry and thus are already in relatively straitened circumstances Elizabeth and Jane Bennet in Pride and Prejudice, Fanny Price in Mansfield Park, Catherine Morland in Northanger Abbey.
But Emma is different. As we learn in the early stages of the novel, Emma is "the heiress of thirty thousand pounds," and this gives her a freedom unique among Austen heroines: In fact, she "'declares she will never marry'": Fortune I do not want; employment I do not want; consequence I do not want: I believe few married women are half as much mistress of their husband's house as I am of Hartfield; and never, never could I expect to be so truly beloved and important; so always first and always right in any man's eyes as I am in my father's.
Emma Watson, heroine of the fragment The Watsons written around After the uncle who has raised her dies, and her widowed aunt makes an "imprudent" remarriage, Emma Watson returns to her birth family's home and, like Fanny Price when she makes a similar journey in Mansfield Park, discovers that And in Emma, a similar future, or present, is faced by each of the single women who do not share Emma Woodhouse's happy state of financial independence.
Harriet Smith Harriet is 17, and "the natural daughter of somebody.
Somebody had placed her, several years back, at Mrs. Goddard's school, and somebody had lately raised her from the condition of scholar to that of parlour-boarder. She is utterly dependent on her mysterious benefactor, a situation that leaves her future highly uncertain.
Knightley tells Emma that Harriet "'may be a parlour-boarder at Mrs. Goddard's all the rest of her life,'" but he is wrong: Harriet is only likely to be a parlour-border for the rest of her father's life.
When he dies, Harriet's "'very liberal'" allowance is likely to be abruptly cut off. Knightley notes, she has "'probably no settled provision at all'"—that is, she has been given no money of her own and cannot expect any legacy from her father.
Wills were and are public documents, and a father who cannot acknowledge Harriet while he lives is unlikely to expose his family to scandal when he dies. When she was nine, she and her sister Cassandra then twelve were sent as parlour-boarders to Abbey House School in Reading.
So Jane was intimately familiar with the odd in-between status of parlour-boarders, who lived in the proprietor's household, but were not a part of it. Jane also knew what it meant to be dependent: Harriet, of course, has no relatives she can call on.
After her father's death, if she remains unmarried it's likely that she will be forced to earn her means of livelihood; she will be "'left in Mrs.
Goddard's hands to shift as she can. Miss Bates Miss Bates is the daughter of Highbury's former vicar. She lives with her elderly mother and one servant above a Highbury shop in a "very moderate-sized apartment, which was every thing to them. She had never boasted either beauty or cleverness.
Her youth had passed without distinction, and her middle of life was devoted to the care of a failing mother, and the endeavour to make a small income go as far as possible. Knightley regularly sends them food from his estate. While the Austen women were not as poor as Mrs.Download-Theses Mercredi 10 juin Apr 26, · But if Emma Woodhouse has "'very little intention of ever marrying at all,'" there is another Emma in Austen's work who provides a more sobering picture of the possible fate awaiting an unmarried woman: Emma Watson, heroine of the fragment The Watsons (written around ).
Similarly, both Mr. Knightley and Emma come to agree that Frank is lucky to be accepted by Jane, even though she is considered of inferior social standing, because she surpasses him in virtue. Marriage is also an agent of social change. 11 days ago · Maureen Stiller: Although Jane Austen is writing the story of the narrator, she’s writing it through Emma’s own eyes, through Emma’s self-delusion.
And so all these things that she’s.
SOCIAL CLASS. The class structure is basic in Emma, as it is in all Austen's novels. The responsibilities and behavior of each class are generally known and accepted.
Some social mobility is possible, as is illustrated by the Coles, who "were of low origin, in trade, and only moderately genteel" (p. ). Questions of status and class are a major preoccupation of Jane Austen’s characters, and of the novels themselves. Professor John Mullan considers both the importance of social status and .