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Written by Stephanie
(2/13/2013 12:01 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, listening?, penned by Nikki N
Had Mr. Knightley heard nothing of the conversation, there is still Emma's own sense of propriety in place. She does wrong in the novel, but when the offense is against genteel manners or social mores, we know she feels guilty about it.
When she arranges Harriet's short visit to the Martins, Emma can not entirely approve of herself, and has to talk herself into what she knows to be bad behavior. After confessing her suspicions to Mr. Frank Churchill, she repents it, wondering if she did not breach woman-to-woman duty. When she avoids visiting Mrs. and Miss Bates, her conscience pricks her.
When she asks for details from Miss Fairfax, and has every attempt at an opinion stymied, she never thinks that she might be the one transgressing.
Part of the resentment on Emma's part, indeed, might be that she is making an effort to progress a step in intimacy, and Miss Fairfax is refusing it. As Emma says later, "I must be more in want of a friend, or an agreeable companion, than I have yet been, to take the trouble of conquering any body's reserve to procure one." (ch. 24)
Even so, however, I still can not paint Emma as to be classed with the Mrs. Eltons, the Mrs. Perrys, and the Mrs. Coles, who would force themselves anywhere; (ch. 45) especially since this particular social sin is never repeated by Emma elsewhere in the novel, and she deprecates it in others.
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