Views on the book Emma

Objectives :

1. Analyse for more than just the obvious – theme, character, plot, human behaviour, social dimensions, moral codes, one. Is the ability to duel a sign of mental vigour? Opinionated personality?> Do conversations reveal gender perspectives? Are they economical ways of characterization ( Writer’s technique? )

2. Evaluate validity of each of the responses in the debates / duels / conversations?

3. Use 4-layers of analysis for deeper understanding.

The pages I have chosen to analyse is from page 48-53, whereby Emma and Mr Knightley were arguing about whether Mr Martin was more superior than Harriet Smith or vice versa.

In this extract, the theme is duels and debate, as Emma and Mr Knightley are arguing throughout the entire extract, with Mr Knightey leaving at the end in distress and unhappiness due to Emma’s uncaring words. Amidst this extract, Jane Austen was smart to have used Mr Knightley and Emma in this argument as through their distress at each other, they actually say things that have underlying meanings which are meant for each other. For example, from the beginning, Emma already states that “it is always incomprehensible to a man that a woman should ever refuse an offer of marriage. A man always imagines a woman to be ready for anybody who asks her”. This shows that Emma refused to be the average woman that was to “bow down” to the men and adhere to their every request.

Also, from this extract, we can tell that Mr Knightley has obvious feelings for Emma, but he has yet to realize it. From the way he could get so agitated only around Emma shows that he really cares about her views and what she says. Mr Knightley tends to “exclaim loudly” nearly throughout the entire argument whenever Emma says something against his point of view. Yet, Jane Austen cleverly showed us that although Mr Knightley and Emma were in denial of this fact, she purposefully made it obvious to us that they do actually like each other and the readers can see it but the characters themselves are unable to do so.

Both Mr Knightley and Emma compliment each other in the fact that both are stubborn in their own views and refuse to sit down and here out each other’s opinions of their friends. In the first place, I, personally, find it rather amusing that the two best friends are arguing over their own friends when in fact, as best friends, they should be able to converse in a more apt way that best friends should, especially when they’ve known each other far longer than their friends too.

Therefore, I feel that this extract was very much interesting, although sadistic, but the way Jane Austen made the two best friends quarrel was exhilarating, and not just the typical and stereotypical “I am your best friend so we should stay calm and collected even though we are unhappy with each other” look that most authors tend to give their characters ( only subjected to best friends ).

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