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The Novel Emma: Text, Story, Critical Analysis: Volume 1 Starts Dr. Sarwet Rasul.

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1 The Novel Emma: Text, Story, Critical Analysis: Volume 1 Starts Dr. Sarwet Rasul

2 Review of the Previous Session About the Author: Jane Austen Early Life and Family Environment Issue of Marriage: Jane Austen as a Novelist Jane Austen as the Author of Emma Introduction to the Novel Emma What Emma is About? Reception of Emma and her other Works Character list Major or main Theme of Emma Other Important Themes 2

3 Current Session In this session we will cover first eight chapters of volume 1. (Chapters 1- 8) Important happenings in these chapters Points of Discussion Important parts of text with reference to development of characters, plot and structure. Jane Austen as a writer, her art of characterization etc. Development of different themes through these chapters 3

4 Volume 1, Chapter 1 This chapter introduces the novel's title character and protagonist, Emma Woodhouse. She is of twenty-one years, and is the youngest of two daughters of her father. Her father is an indulgent man, while her mother died long ago, leaving Emma to be brought up by Miss Taylor, a governess who 'fell little short of a mother in affection.‘ As the novel begins we find at the outset that Miss Taylor has just married Mr. Weston. Thus, Emma is left alone. After the wedding she is alone playing backgammon with her father, to please him, as in general he is a disagreeable man. Then comes Mr. George Knightly, whose brother had married Emma's elder sister. They discuss how Emma will miss the new Mrs. Weston, while Mr. Woodhouse pities Miss Taylor, absurdly thinking her unhappy to be married and thus separated from the Woodhouse household. During the discussion Emma tries to take credit for the marriage, claiming that she matched Miss Taylor and Mr. Weston. (Let us read text extracts from the first chapter to understand the writing style of the author, and to get a feel of novel.) 4

5 Opening Text of VOLUME I: CHAPTER I TEXT: 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. She was the youngest of the two daughters of a most affectionate, indulgent father; and had, in consequence of her sister's marriage, been mistress of his house from a very early period. Her mother had died too long ago for her to have more than an indistinct remembrance of her caresses; and her place had been supplied by an excellent woman as governess, who had fallen little short of a mother in affection. 5

6 Cont… Opening Text of VOLUME I: CHAPTER I TEXT: Sixteen years had Miss Taylor been in Mr. Woodhouse's family, less as a governess than a friend, very fond of both daughters, but particularly of Emma. Between them it was more the intimacy of sisters. Even before Miss Taylor had ceased to hold the nominal office of governess, the mildness of her temper had hardly allowed her to impose any restraint; and the shadow of authority being now long passed away, they had been living together as friend and friend very mutually attached, and Emma doing just what she liked; highly esteeming Miss Taylor's judgment, but directed chiefly by her own. The real evils, indeed, of Emma's situation were the power of having rather too much her own way, and a disposition to think a little too well of herself; these were the disadvantages which threatened alloy to her many enjoyments. The danger, however, was at present so unperceived, that they did not by any means rank as misfortunes with her. 6

7 Cont… Opening Text of VOLUME I: CHAPTER I TEXT: Sorrow came—a gentle sorrow—but not at all in the shape of any disagreeable consciousness.— Miss Taylor married. It was Miss Taylor's loss which first brought grief. It was on the wedding- day of this beloved friend that Emma first sat in mournful thought of any continuance. The wedding over, and the bride-people gone, her father and herself were left to dine together, with no prospect of a third to cheer a long evening. Her father composed himself to sleep after dinner, as usual, and she had then only to sit and think of what she had lost. 7

8 Cont… Text from VOLUME I: CHAPTER I- Emma is alone TEXT: Her sister, though comparatively but little removed by matrimony, being settled in London, only sixteen miles off, was much beyond her daily reach; and many a long October and November evening must be struggled through at Hartfield, before Christmas brought the next visit from Isabella and her husband, and their little children, to fill the house, and give her pleasant society again. 8

9 Cont… More Text from VOLUME I: CHAPTER I Highbury, the large and populous village, almost amounting to a town, to which Hartfield, in spite of its separate lawn, and shrubberies, and name, did really belong, afforded her no equals. The Woodhouses were first in consequence there. All looked up to them. She had many acquaintance in the place, for her father was universally civil, but not one among them who could be accepted in lieu of Miss Taylor for even half a day. It was a melancholy change; and Emma could not but sigh over it, and wish for impossible things, till her father awoke, and made it necessary to be cheerful. His spirits required support. He was a nervous man, easily depressed; fond of every body that he was used to, and hating to part with them; hating change of every kind. Matrimony, as the origin of change, was always disagreeable; and he was by no means yet reconciled to his own daughter's marrying, nor could ever speak of her but with compassion, though it had been entirely a match of affection, when he was now obliged to part with Miss Taylor too; and from his habits of gentle selfishness, and of being never able to suppose that other people could feel differently from himself, he was very much disposed to think Miss Taylor had done as sad a thing for herself as for them, and would have been a great deal happier if she had spent all the rest of her life at Hartfield. Emma smiled and chatted as cheerfully as she could, to keep him from such thoughts; but when tea came, it was impossible for him not to say exactly as he had said at dinner. 9

10 Cont… More Text from VOLUME I: CHAPTER I TEXT: Mr. Knightley, in fact, was one of the few people who could see faults in Emma Woodhouse, and the only one who ever told her of them: and though this was not particularly agreeable to Emma herself, she knew it would be so much less so to her father, that she would not have him really suspect such a circumstance as her not being thought perfect by every body. "Emma knows I never flatter her," said Mr. Knightley, "but I meant no reflection on any body. Miss Taylor has been used to have two persons to please; she will now have but one. The chances are that she must be a gainer.“ "Well," said Emma, willing to let it pass—"you want to hear about the wedding; and I shall be happy to tell you, for we all behaved charmingly. Every body was punctual, every body in their best looks: not a tear, and hardly a long face to be seen. Oh no; we all felt that we were going to be only half a mile apart, and were sure of meeting every day." 10

11 Cont… More Text from VOLUME I: CHAPTER I TEXT: "And you have forgotten one matter of joy to me," said Emma, "and a very considerable one—that I made the match myself. I made the match, you know, four years ago; and to have it take place, and be proved in the right, when so many people said Mr. Weston would never marry again, may comfort me for any thing.“ Mr. Knightley shook his head at her. Her father fondly replied, "Ah! my dear, I wish you would not make matches and foretell things, for whatever you say always comes to pass. Pray do not make any more matches.“ "I promise you to make none for myself, papa; but I must, indeed, for other people. It is the greatest amusement in the world! And after such success, you know!—Every body said that Mr. Weston would never marry again. 11

12 Cont… More Text from VOLUME I: CHAPTER I TEXT: "Ever since the day—about four years ago—that Miss Taylor and I met with him in Broadway Lane, when, because it began to drizzle, he darted away with so much gallantry, and borrowed two umbrellas for us from Farmer Mitchell's, I made up my mind on the subject. I planned the match from that hour; and when such success has blessed me in this instance, dear papa, you cannot think that I shall leave off match- making.“ "I do not understand what you mean by 'success,'" said Mr. Knightley. "Success supposes endeavour. Your time has been properly and delicately spent, if you have been endeavouring for the last four years to bring about this marriage. A worthy employment for a young lady's mind! But if, which I rather imagine, your making the match, as you call it, means only your planning it, your saying to yourself one idle day, 'I think it would be a very good thing for Miss Taylor if Mr. Weston were to marry her,' and saying it again to yourself every now and then afterwards, why do you talk of success? Where is your merit? What are you proud of? You made a lucky guess; and that is all that can be said." 12

13 Cont… More Text from VOLUME I: CHAPTER I TEXT: "And have you never known the pleasure and triumph of a lucky guess?— I pity you.—I thought you cleverer— for, depend upon it a lucky guess is never merely luck. There is always some talent in it. And as to my poor word 'success,' which you quarrel with, I do not know that I am so entirely without any claim to it. You have drawn two pretty pictures; but I think there may be a third—a something between the do-nothing and the do- all. If I had not promoted Mr. Weston's visits here, and given many little encouragements, and smoothed many little matters, it might not have come to any thing after all. I think you must know Hartfield enough to comprehend that.“ "A straightforward, open-hearted man like Weston, and a rational, unaffected woman like Miss Taylor, may be safely left to manage their own concerns. You are more likely to have done harm to yourself, than good to them, by interference." 13

14 Concluding Text of Chapter 1 TEXT: "Emma never thinks of herself, if she can do good to others," rejoined Mr. Woodhouse, understanding but in part. "But, my dear, pray do not make any more matches; they are silly things, and break up one's family circle grievously.“Only one more, papa; only for Mr. Elton. Poor Mr. Elton! You like Mr. Elton, papa,—I must look about for a wife for him. There is nobody in Highbury who deserves him— and he has been here a whole year, and has fitted up his house so comfortably, that it would be a shame to have him single any longer—and I thought when he was joining their hands to-day, he looked so very much as if he would like to have the same kind office done for him! I think very well of Mr. Elton, and this is the only way I have of doing him a service”.“Mr. Elton is a very pretty young man, to be sure, and a very good young man, and I have a great regard for him. But if you want to shew him any attention, my dear, ask him to come and dine with us some day. That will be a much better thing. I dare say Mr. Knightley will be so kind as to meet him.“ "With a great deal of pleasure, sir, at any time," said Mr. Knightley, laughing, "and I agree with you entirely, that it will be a much better thing. Invite him to dinner, Emma, and help him to the best of the fish and the chicken, but leave him to chuse his own wife. Depend upon it, a man of six or seven-and-twenty can take care of himself." 14

15 Points to Ponder: Vol.1, Chapter 1 As readers you would have noticed that in the first few paragraphs of the book, Austen gives an appraisal on Emma Woodhouse, the female protagonist of the novel. While she is "handsome, clever and rich," she is still spoiled and self- centered, less concerned with Miss Taylor's new happiness than her own loss of a companion. Austen introduces the reader to the main issue or 'problem' that the novel deals with. The central theme around which the whole plot will be built is established from the very beginning. “Emma must learn to be a better person with greater respect for others.” We also notice the peculiarity of Mr. Woodhouse who continuously complaints. He has a narrow view of the world that Emma has come to share. 15

16 What kind of world Emma has? It is a world of leisure, in which she spends time drawing, visiting with friends, or playing games. It is a static and orderly world. There is little change in Emma's life, and what changes occur, in this case the marriage of Miss Taylor, greatly disturb her. When Emma desires change (as when she suggests that Mr. Elton should be married), it is to set things in greater order. 16

17 Points to Ponder: Vol.1, Chapter 1 Themes that are set: Human absurdities: Emma and her father are examples. Imagination vs. Reason: This chapter also sets up the opposition between imagination and reasoning, both ironically based upon realism. People do find their own mates, but likewise matches are sometimes made by third parties. Furthermore, though it is done very unobtrusively, Austen places before the reader two characters who are quite eligible for marriage: Emma and George Knightly. Equally unobtrusive is the idea of properly established social ranks. The author is careful to make Miss Taylor and Mr. Weston relatively equal in character and social standing. Class Distinction: The short talk between Emma and her father about servants, while it confirms Mr. Woodhouse's kindness to others, also fixes the idea of a definite servant class which one enters by birth and remains in as an accepted and honorable position. 17

18 Austen as writer Multiple voices: Emma's viewpoint predominates the novel, and Austen gives her perspective on nearly every event, but it is not the only perspective. We notice that the novel is told from the third person, which gives Austen the ability to critique Emma's own behavior. The character Mr. Knightly serves this same purpose. He is the voice of sound judgment in the novel, pointing out where Emma is faulty in judgment or in action. Mr. Knightly represents a sensible view of the world, while Mr. Woodhouse is unduly occupied with his own health and his own feelings and comforts. 18

19 VOLUME 1, CHAPTER 2 This chapter begins with the story of Mr. Weston, who had married Miss Churchill, who was of a higher social status than he. The marriage proved to be an unhappy one mainly because she lived a life beyond what they could afford. When she died, the Westons had a child whom Mr. Weston sent to live with his late wife's relatives. The child now grown and having adopted the name of those who raised him (Frank Churchill) kept in contact with Mr. Weston. Frank Churchill was a reason of generating curiosity at Highbury. 19

20 Points to Ponder: Vol.1, Chapter 2 An important consideration in Jane Austen's all novels is social status, particularly the consideration of social status with reference to marriage. When it comes to Emma we find this factor very much at work here as well. Part of the reason that Mr. Weston's first marriage failed is that he married a woman who was used to a life style more lavished and more comfortable than he could provide. Upward Social mobility as a theme: Mr. Weston is benefited from his marriage as it socially uplifts his status. However, for his wife the case is opposite: since he marries a woman more wealthy than he is, his wife finds it hard to lower herself to his level. 20

21 Points to Ponder: Vol.1, Chapter 2 Plot and structure: This chapter prepares the reader for the upcoming chapters. Most of the material is preparatory which "places" Mr. Weston and establishes background for Frank Churchill, who will later figure prominently in the story. The story also details some peculiar aspects to marriage and courtship: if parents believe that their son or daughter is not marrying well, they can cut him or her off any inheritance. This foreshadows some of the problems that Frank Churchill will have when he wishes to marry, but Mrs. Churchill (the daughter of the very woman who cut his mother off) opposes it. 21

22 Points to Ponder: Vol.1, Chapter 2 Theme of social status vs. profession: A recurring theme in the novel is the relationship between profession and social status. Mr. Weston is below only the Woodhouses and Mr. Knightly in social rank in Highbury, but this was not always the case. Mr. Weston had to climb the social hierarchy. We come to know that he moved from the military up to trade, and then finally as the owner of an estate. Other than the nobility, the highest members of British society were people who had owned property and did not have an actual profession. Working, be it in profession was considered to be a sign of low status. So, working as a clergyman or governess or merchant, all referred to a lower social rank. Theme of Social Interactions: Another theme of the novel is the issue of social interactions. Almost every detail is public. Whatever happens in the course of the novel will reach all of Highbury society. We see that Frank Churchill's letter to his father is passed from person to person, even reaching the lowest ranked people of the society. Theme of Propriety: Yet another theme emerging in this chapter of the novel is of the importance of propriety. Austen's descriptions of her characters rely on propriety. Austen makes only the most general remarks on appearance, but goes into great detail on the manners of each of her characters and whether or not it is "proper" (such as whether or not Frank Churchill should visit his father soon). 22

23 VOLUME 1, CHAPTER 3 This chapter introduces a number of minor characters, including the impoverished Mrs. Bates and Miss Bates, her daughter; Mr. Elton, a local clergyman; Mrs. Goddard, the mistress of a boarding school, and most importantly Harriet Smith, a young girl whom Emma takes under her supervision and protection. A logical reason of all of them to be introduced is created: Mr. Woodhouse is fond of society among his intimates who "visit him on his own terms," especially for evening parties. So, in this chapter George Knightley, the Westons, Mr. Elton, Mrs. Goddard, and Mrs. and Miss Bates all are seen visiting him. Miss Bates is a happy woman, known for her "universal good-will and contented temper" and for being "a great talker upon little matters." Mrs. Goddard runs an honest, old-fashioned, and respectable boarding school. It is she who, in order to please Emma, when she asks brings Harriet Smith for an evening. Emma deems Harriet's acquaintances, farmers by the name of Martin, coarse and inappropriate for Harriet, and decides to improve Harriet. 23

24 Cont… VOLUME 1, CHAPTER 3 Harriet is a pretty seventeen-year-old who is "the natural daughter of somebody." After Harriet proves to be engaging, proper, and deferential, Emma even spends a pleasant evening in forming schemes for doing so,though simultaneously she keeps on attending the guests, ensuring that the guests get generous portions of food, in spite of Mr. Woodhouse's concern that they partake of only a little because of health. The evening ends with Harriet in absolute happiness at the attention she has received from "so great a personage in Highbury" as Miss Woodhouse. (Let us read some text about Harriet.) 24

25 Text: Character Sketch of Harriet Text: Harriet Smith was 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. This was all that was generally known of her history. She had no visible friends but what had been acquired at Highbury, and was now just returned from a long visit in the country to some young ladies who had been at school there with her. She was a very pretty girl, and her beauty happened to be of a sort which Emma particularly admired. She was short, plump, and fair, with a fine bloom, blue eyes, light hair, regular features, and a look of great sweetness, and, before the end of the evening, Emma was as much pleased with her manners as her person, and quite determined to continue the acquaintance. 25

26 Text cont… Text: She was not struck by any thing remarkably clever in Miss Smith's conversation, but she found her altogether very engaging—not inconveniently shy, not unwilling to talk—and yet so far from pushing, shewing so proper and becoming a deference, seeming so pleasantly grateful for being admitted to Hartfield, and so artlessly impressed by the appearance of every thing in so superior a style to what she had been used to, that she must have good sense, and deserve encouragement. Encouragement should be given. Those soft blue eyes, and all those natural graces, should not be wasted on the inferior society of Highbury and its connexions. The acquaintance she had already formed were unworthy of her. The friends from whom she had just parted, though very good sort of people, must be doing her harm. They were a family of the name of Martin, whom Emma well knew by character, as renting a large farm of Mr. Knightley, and residing in the parish of Donwell—very creditably, she believed—she knew Mr. Knightley thought highly of them— but they must be coarse and unpolished, and very unfit to be the intimates of a girl who wanted only a little more knowledge and elegance to be quite perfect. She would notice her; she would improve her; she would detach her from her bad acquaintance, and introduce her into good society; she would form her opinions and her manners. It would be an interesting, and certainly a very kind undertaking; highly becoming her own situation in life, her leisure, and powers. 26

27 Points to Ponder: Vol.1, Chapter 3 It is ironic to see that Emma Woodhouse despite her true intentions to help Harriet out, is found to be meddling everything in her life. All her attempts to improve Harriet Smith lead towards problems for Harriet. Though she has good intentions toward Harriet and genuinely wishes to help the young lady by introducing her into society and finding her a suitor, Emma automatically thinks that the Martins are too common for Harriet. Mr. Knightly, however, thinks very highly of them, despite their profession. This is yet another example of social rank determining the possibility for marriage and courtship. Once again we find that parentage becomes important for determining a character's social status. An important facet of Harriet's character is that she does not know who her family is. This is a hindrance in Harriet’s assuming a higher social status. 27

28 Points to Ponder: Vol.1, Chapter 3 The chapter also sets up the social hierarchy of Highbury society. The Woodhouses, the Westons and Mr. Knightly are at the top, since they own the large estates. Below them in status is Mr. Elton, who is important in Highbury not because of wealth but because he is the local vicar. Mrs. Bates, as the widow of the former vicar, also retains some status. At the lowest rank in the society are single women such as Harriet Smith and Miss Bates. Miss Bates takes part in social functions because of her mother, but the only reason that Harriet is allowed among the high-ups of Highbury is Emma. Since Emma is at the top of Highbury society, she can determine who is to be included or excluded. 28

29 Opening Text of Chapter 4 TEXT: Harriet Smith's intimacy at Hartfield was soon a settled thing. Quick and decided in her ways, Emma lost no time in inviting, encouraging, and telling her to come very often; and as their acquaintance increased, so did their satisfaction in each other. As a walking companion, Emma had very early foreseen how useful she might find her. In that respect Mrs. Weston's loss had been important. Her father never went beyond the shrubbery, where two divisions of the ground sufficed him for his long walk, or his short, as the year varied; and since Mrs. Weston's marriage her exercise had been too much confined. She had ventured once alone to Randalls, but it was not pleasant; and a Harriet Smith, therefore, one whom she could summon at any time to a walk, would be a valuable addition to her privileges. But in every respect, as she saw more of her, she approved her, and was confirmed in all her kind designs. 29

30 VOLUME 1, CHAPTER 4 Emma introduces Harriet Smith into her social circle. Harriet serves the role of a companion to replace Mrs. Weston. Harriet can tell Emma little about her parents, for Mrs. Goddard has told her little. Emma begins to realize that among the Martins there is a son who has a romantic interest in Harriet. Now Emma enquires Harriet about Mr. Martin, she attempts to belittle him as uneducated, not handsome, and too young to marry. After Emma briefly meets Mr. Martin, she tells Harriet outright that he is remarkably plain and clownish. She tells Harriet to compare him to better men such as Mr. Weston or Mr. Elton. Emma decides that Mr. Elton would suit Harriet, for he did not have low connections but did not have a family who would object to Harriet's doubtful birth. 30

31 Points to Ponder: Vol.1, Chapter 4 Emma’s role as a godmother: Harriet is impressionable and naïve, and she completely relies upon Emma. Harriet Smith reveals herself to be the perfect case for Emma, her so called godmother. The juxtaposition in the roles of Harriet and Mrs. Weston: Harriet replaces Mrs. Weston as a companion, but unlike Mrs. Weston, she will not criticize Emma or attempt to improve her. She is rather so impressionable that she would try to imitate emma, and would try to flatter her. Emma chooses Harriet as a friend precisely because of her difference from Mrs. Weston. Since she cannot replace Mrs. Weston, she decides to find a different sort of relationship. Instead of finding another teacher, Emma finds a student this time. 31

32 Points to Ponder: Vol.1, Chapter 4 Theme of Manners and Mannerism: Manners are needed for social approval Upward social mobility is not possible without adopting the manners of that class. The reason that Emma gives to dissuade Harriet Smith from a romance with Robert Martin is significant. He lacks proper manners, with his "awkward look," "abrupt manner" and "uncouthness of a voice." She does this through contrast: Robert Martin lacks what Mr. Knightly or Mr. Weston or Mr. Elton have. But for Emma, 'manners' actually mean status. She disapproves of Robert Martin before she has even met him and only knows that he is a farmer. This also reinforces the theme of relationship between status and manners. She claims that Mr. Knightly and Mr. Elton have manners that befit their social situation. Each place in society has manners that are proper to it. Behavior that might be acceptable to a woman such as Emma might not be appropriate for a woman such as Harriet Smith or vice- versa. 32

33 Points to Ponder: Vol.1, Chapters 3 and 4 so far Jane Austen and her Times: Emma and her times Emma, like others around her, obviously believes in the propriety of social stratification and exemplifies it when she leads the believing Harriet to compare Robert Martin with the other gentlemen. However, it is worth remembering that when Emma says, "The yeomanry are precisely the order of people with whom I feel I can have nothing to do," she is not being snobbish in the modern sense. Though it may not be admirable by today's standards, her social conscience is that of the eighteenth century; and it is significant that her very next remarks, coming without pause, are these: "A degree or two lower and a creditable appearance might interest me; I might hope to be useful to their families in some way or other. But a farmer can need none of my help, and is therefore in one sense as much above my notice as in every other he is below it." In light of the world around her, Emma's only serious mistake, socially and humanly speaking, is in letting her willful wish and imagination convince her that Harriet, who is so pretty and amiable, must come from gentility. 33

34 VOLUME 1, CHAPTER 5 George Knightley and Mrs. Weston have a discussion, almost an argument, about Emma's relation with Harriet. He discusses with Mrs. Weston how he disapproves of Emma's friendship with Harriet Smith. Mrs. Weston believes that it will be good for both of their education. But, George Knightley is convinced that nothing good can come of it for either party. When Mrs. Weston says it will lead to Emma's reading more, his short reply is that "Emma has been meaning to read more ever since she was twelve years old" and that she will never subject "the fancy to the understanding." Mr. Knightly also claims that Harriet will do nothing to stimulate Emma intellectually and will do nothing but flatter her. Mr. Knightly tells Mrs. Weston that her job as a governess prepared her well to be a wife, for it trained her to submit her own will. After he refers ironically to "Emma's genius for foretelling and guessing," Mrs. Weston shifts the talk to Emma's beauty, eliciting from him the statement that "I love to look at her”. Mrs. Weston can see no flaw in Emma and requests and advises George not to make an issue of the friendship between Emma and Harriet. George agrees and, in wondering what will become of Emma, recalls, "She always declares she will never marry.“ However, Mrs. Weston's reply is a vague one in response to this. The chapter ends on this note. 34

35 Points to Ponder: Vol.1, Chapter 5 Mr. Knightly serves as the voice of the writer in the novel. He represents the author's views on each character. In this chapter he serves to point out Emma's flaws. In fact through out the novel we will see him doing the same job. Fore- shadowing of future relationships + The Theme of Social Class Distinction: Mr. Knightly is greatly concerned with Emma's behavior, and this interest seems more than just casual and friendly. Therefore when Mr. Knightly tells Mrs. Weston and Emma that Harriet Smith is not an appropriate friend for Emma. The harm in the friendship is that Harriet will flatter Emma and would stimulate her worst qualities, while Emma will teach Harriet to be so refined that she will not fit among her true social equals. Again, status becomes important. Friendship with the woman at the center of Highbury society will only confuse the young girl Harriet, and she should consider this factor in the light of her her suspicious birth and upbringing. Mr. Knightly makes an important comment to Emma about how she prepared Mrs. Weston for marriage by making Mrs. Weston submit to Emma's wishes. This highlights the role of a wife in marriage as completely subservient to the husband, and indicates how exceptional Emma is in her circumstances. Emma, because of her fortune and status, has the different degree of power. 35

36 Points to Ponder: Vol.1, Chapter 5 Character of Mr. Knightley: A realist A man of understanding A rational person A mature man Very friendly He is quite right about Emma but too amiable really to interpose. His statement about Emma's not reading books is ironical when we recall Emma's recent criticism of Robert Martin for the very same neglect. In stating his view of what a wife should be, George refers to Mrs. Weston's talent for submission of her will; and yet by the end of the chapter it is George himself who has submitted to her. Character of Mrs. Weston: Mrs. Weston has absolute innocent faith in her former ward. She, in this chapter, helps to explain why Emma is as she is. Her hinted wishes that they at Randalls have for Emma constitute the author's forshadowing for further plot complications. 36

37 VOLUME 1, CHAPTER 6 Emma speaks to Mr. Elton about Harriet Smith, but for every compliment he gives Harriet, Mr. Elton gives Emma the credit. Emma decides to draw a portrait of Harriet Smith for Mr. Elton, even though he seems more interested in having a picture by Emma Woodhouse than of Harriet Smith. While Emma draws Harriet, Mr. Elton fidgets behind her. When Emma completes the picture of Harriet Smith, Mr. Weston and Mr. Knightley note how Emma has improved Harriet's appearance, giving her better features and making her taller. When the picture is completed, others find some small faults in it; but Mr. Elton is determined to find everything in it exactly right almost to the point of perfection. When it is decided that all the portrait lacks is being framed and that that must be done in London, Mr. Elton is happy to take the responsibility. Theme of Self-deception: Theme of Self-deception comes in. Emma realizes that, while doing the picture, she has been the object of many of his compliments; but she assures herself that it is merely "his gratitude on Harriet's account." Anyhow, Mr. Elton takes the picture to London so that it can be framed. 37

38 Points to Ponder: Vol.1, Chapter 6 Situational Irony: Harriet Smith is interested in Mr. Elton, but Mr. Elton is interested in Emma, the woman who is attempting to set up the two. It also creates a number of ambiguities. Mr. Elton gladly accepts the portrait, but is not clear whether or not he cherishes it for the subject (Harriet) or the artist (Emma). Certain qualities in both Emma and Harriet Smith allow this delusion to continue. Emma has idealized both Harriet and Mr. Elton in her attempts to play matchmaker. She cannot presume that her plans would ever go wrong. Harriet, on the other hand, relies on Emma so much; and is so trusting that she cannot see the signals that Mr. Elton gives. So, there is a lot of confusion on the part of all the three persons involved. 38

39 Points to Ponder: Vol.1, Chapter 6 Theme of Life of Leisure: The chapter also reinforces the life of leisure that Emma Woodhouse lives. She spends her days working on a portrait of Harriet Smith. Yet also interesting is that the others also have a similar life of leisure, even though Harriet does not have Emma's resources, and Mr. Elton actually has a career, we find them spending a lot of time on this portrait making activity. Interestingly, Austen never shows Mr. Elton actually at work or performing his duties at the parish. 39

40 VOLUME 1, CHAPTER 7 On the very day of Mr. Elton's going to London, Harriet receives a letter with a direct proposal of marriage from Robert Martin. Although Emma finds that the letter containing the proposal is better than she expected, she speaks against him in front of Harriet. She even goes to the extent of claiming that the letter must be written by one of his sisters. When Harriet asks her point-blank what she should do, Emma discourages Harriet from accepting the proposal, claiming that a woman should always say no if there is even the slightest doubt. Harriet is disappointed to turn Mr. Martin down, but she follows what Emma says. Emma manages to distract her by talking about Mr. Elton and the portrait he is taking to London. Emma also tells her to think of Mr. Elton instead of Martin, that how in London he is getting her portrait framed. 40

41 Points to Ponder: Vol.1, Chapter 7 Emma’s idea that one of Martin’s sisters wrote the letter is absurd on various grounds. For Emma it is not Robert Martin's manners, but his status that is actually important. Character of Harriet: Dependent on Emma Indecisive: She cannot decide whether or not to marry Robert Martin without asking Emma. Harriet Smith asks Emma her opinion on the proposal when Harriet obviously has her own opinion on the matter. She has some doubt, but is so obviously disappointed when Emma advises her to reject Robert Martin that it is clear she wishes to marry him. Still, Harriet does not have the courage to oppose Emma’s opinion. 41

42 VOLUME 1, CHAPTER 8 Since Harriet now has a bedroom at the Woodhouses, and she often stays there, now she sleeps at Hartfield this night. The next morning, while she is away at Mrs. Goddard's, George Knightley calls and talks with Emma. Mr. Knightly credits her with improving Harriet, curing her of her schoolgirl temperament. Then, he hints that Harriet can expect a proposal from Robert Martin, who has consulted George and whom George praises strongly for his good qualities. When Emma reveals that Robert has already written and been refused, Mr. Knightly is furious, thinking that Harriet is a simpleton for refusing. He guesses that Mr. Elton is the object of Emma's intrigue and assures her that it will not work. Emma thanks him for his advice and he leaves abruptly. When Harriet returns, she talks of nothing but Mr. Elton, who, she has come to know, is "actually on his road to London" with the portrait. 42

43 Points to Ponder: Vol.1, Chapter 8 Harriet as a constant guest at Hartfield generates some ideas about the theme of misconception that would follow lateron. Harriet may think of herself as a resident of Hartfield, which would obviously accord her greater status than she deserves. Mr. Knightley’s rationality is going to be true in this case. Harriet would assume herself as too high in status. For Mr. Knightly, the best of example of this is that Harriet turned down Robert Martin. As Mr. Knightly serves as Austen's voice of reason in the novel, this makes it clear that, because of Emma, Harriet has made a mistake. 43

44 Points to Ponder: Vol.1, Chapter 8 Social Class and Marriage: Again, class is the primary consideration for marriage. Harriet is poor; she does not know her parentage so she is unlikely to marry well. She also needs to take care that her marriage and her husband provide her a social standing. Emma's great fault is making Harriet Smith believe that she can expect a man of higher status than she can actually claim. When Mr. Knightly and Emma discuss Harriet's possibilities for marriage, they specifically do not mention love. For the characters in novel, the primary consideration is marrying for status and for security, not for any great romantic considerations. 44

45 Materials incorporated Norman Sherry (1969) JANE AUSTEN. Arco: New York. Vivien Jones (1997) HOW TO STUDY A JANE AUSTEN NOVEL (2 nd ed.) Macmillan: Houndmills. http://www.sparknotes.com http://www.bookrags.com http://www.cliffsnotes.com http://www.sparknotes.com http://www.bookrags.com http://www.cliffsnotes.com http://gradesavers.com 45

46 Summary of the Session In this session we covered first eight chapters of volume 1. (Chapters 1- 8) Important happenings in these chapters Points of Discussion Important parts of text with reference to development of characters, plot and structure. Jane Austen as a writer, her art of characterization etc. Development of different themes through these chapters 46

47 Thank you very much! 47


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