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Written by Robbin
(1/26/2011 1:29 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Emma the Snob -- her terrible attitude toward Robert, penned by AnnetteJ
Emma’s opinion of the Martins is rather snobby—Harriet’s description of their lifestyle does not seem as uncouth as her friend would make it out to be. In Ch. 3 two sets of friends are listed as folks who are willing to visit Mr. Woodhouse on his own terms and I think they may tell tales about how Emma thinks of people:
Real, long-standing regard brought the Westons and Mr. Knightley; and by Mr. Elton, a young man living alone without liking it, the privilege of exchanging any vacant evening of his own blank solitude for the elegancies and society of Mr. Woodhouse's drawing-room and the smiles of his lovely daughter, was in no danger of being thrown away.
After these came a second set; among the most come-at-able of whom were Mrs. and Miss Bates and Mrs. Goddard, three ladies almost always at the service of an invitation from Hartfield, and who were fetched and carried home so often that Mr. Woodhouse thought it no hardship for either James or the horses. Had it taken place only once a year, it would have been a grievance. (3)
The first set may be exclusive but the two Bates and Mrs. Goddard appear to be part of a larger set of friends because they are described as among the most come-at-able (3). These sets of friends appear to be divided by status rather than their regard for Mr. Woodhouse. It seems to me JA does not arrange things randomly so it peaks my interest.
In the first set Mr. Knightly and Mr. Weston are landed gentlemen, Mrs. Weston takes her status from her husband and Mr. Elton is in one of the three gentlemanly professions. In the second set Mrs. and Miss Bates are of the genteel poor, come down from better as the family of a clergyman and Mrs. Goddard as a boarding school mistress may be lower in gentility than the Bates. I am thinking her status may be something like that of a governess, a profession that imposes on gentility but does not destroy it.
If the friends were divided by their regard for Mr. Woodhouse the Bates and Mrs. Goddard ought to keep company with Mr. Knightly and the Westons who gladly visit due to “Real, long-standing regard” (3) while Mr. Elton would not qualify. Emma arranges the entertainments at Hartfield so my question is are the friends divided into sets by status because this is how Emma views them?
If this seems familiar it may be as this post was reworked from one that was lost. Thanks for reading! (:D)
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