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|Marriage = Sorrow? All is not as it Seems.
Written by Tarn
(1/28/2011 8:35 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Who are 'bride people'? Nfm, penned by Stephanie
[This post was intended as a response to a thread that has vanished - it is way off topic as a reply to your post, but at least it is in the same chapter and about marriage. FWIW, I think Bride people were the guests at the wedding breakfast- although I can't even guess whom.]
I think Jane Austen knew her readers would have prejudices about Emma before they got so far as discovering she was "Handsome, clever, and rich"(1). Emma is only one in a long line of titular heroines of Romance, and the readers of Clarissa, Pamela, Cecilia, Camilla, Evelina, Amelia, Celestina, Belinda, Leonora, Elfrieda, and the Modern Griselda would be expecting certain things of Emma.
But then there is her unaccountable attitude to marriage. For what does she exist, if not to be married? A romantic heroine should be filled with selfless joy after her friend's wedding. Her tender, grateful reflections should be followed by dreams of the day her prince will come, or (if that is too forward ) at least a sense of anticipation as to the expansion of her social circle this wedding must result in. We are told she had a cheerful disposition, so why has she nothing better to do than "only to sit and think of what she had lost.?
For the rest of the first chapter, the evidence that Emma is a heroine like no other keeps mounting: she is self indulgent, she fibs, she brags, her thoughts of marriage are centered on the practical pleasure she takes in getting down and dirty (or at least, rained on) match-making:-conventionally the sport of matronly villains and fools. That first line sets us up to be deceived by Romantic notions, which by the end of the chapter have been turned on their heads. Even readers familiar with Elinore, Elizabeth and Fanny could not be prepared for this.
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