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Written by Sarah Yorkshire
(1/28/2011 6:54 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Disliking Emma - the reader's dilemma, penned by Melinda Mary
Emma's first impression of Robert Martin is that he is 'very neat, and looked like a sensible young man', but her superficial understanding of gentility - ie, that only men in Emma's personal social circle may be admitted as having a 'good manner' - means that he is immediately dismissed as a suitable match for Emma's 'little friend'. She has no objection to the Martins as farmers, but they do not fit with her imagined ideal of Harriet as a 'gentleman's daughter'; in Emma's mind, Elton is far more suitable.
I think that Emma's youth and sheltered upbringing have formed her naive distinctions of importance with regard to the people she meets - Emma first, then her family and friends, acquaintances, and her responsibility to the poorer inhabitants of Highbury - but it is this honesty that brings Emma to life for me. The more outrageous her behaviour, the more I love her!
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