Emma, our spoilt princess, lives a quiet life with her father, her mother having died when she was but a young child. Her sister has married and moved to London. When Emma was twelve, she had become the mistress of the house. “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.” And so a friend close by and malleable was naturally attractive, to our spoilt princess, socially superior but with time on her hands, adopts the attractive, pleasant and Malleable-Harriet. Continue reading
Tag Archives: Emma
A malleable friend
Filed under Friendship
Was Austen a snob?
Jane Austen has at times been accused of snobbery as she makes her clearly imperfect characters say snobby things. Emma is perhaps our best example. Egotistical-Emma likes the position she commands in society and she likes to be in control. When she finds out that her new best friend Harriet has begun a love affair with a local farmer, she is none too happy. Continue reading
Filed under Living the Simple Life
What about Bridezilla?
Upon reading Hannah Seligson’s, The Me, Me, Me Wedding, and learning of the export of the western Bridezilla phenomenon to other cultures, I am reminded of the last words of Austen’s Emma:
The wedding was very much like other weddings, where the parties have no taste for finery or parade; and Mrs. Elton, from the particulars detailed by her husband, thought it all extremely shabby, and very inferior to her own.—”Very little white satin, very few lace veils; a most pitiful business!— Continue reading
Filed under Romance and Marriage
Did Jane Austen like children?
Some biographers, taking a few letters out of context have assumed she didn’t. Rubbish! Jane Austen was a revered Aunt; she was a loved Aunt; she was a sought-after aunt. You don’t get to be such an aunt if you do not like children. It is just that she didn’t idealise children. In one of her letters to her brother James she says, we saw “a countless number of Postchaises full of Boys pass by yesterday morng – full of Heroes, legislators, Fools & Villains.” In the privileged world in which Jane was an observer, children were often put on pedestals by their affluent parents. It was not so very different from today Continue reading
Filed under Childhood
Jane and the Prince Regent
An interesting story about Jane, highlighting her modern credentials, is her diplomatic wrangling of dedicating Emma to the Prince Regent. Apparently he had enjoyed the previous Austen books, had copies in his homes and was happy for Jane to dedicate her next novel to him. Jane could not politely refuse to dedicate her book to the Prince Regent when it was suggested. But she was unequivocal Continue reading
Filed under Feminism
What about when you do not have family?
I often feel for poor Harriet in Emma. Without family, or the knowledge of who her family were, she was left adrift, especially painful in the 18th Century when family connections conferred status and security. Harriet is Emma’s new friend; Emma has discovered Harriet once her old friend, Miss Taylor, now Mrs Weston, originally her governess, then her mentor and friend, has married. Initially Egotistical-Emma, who needs a new project, Continue reading