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|You're Welcome:)--About age and and influence, etc.
Written by BarbaraB
(2/2/2011 1:21 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Thank you Barbara for..., penned by Reeba
Gaps in age can differ at different times of life. A four-year gap at one year and five years is astronomical. A one year old may not be walking or talking whereas a five-year old may already be reading and doing simple arithmetic. At, say, nine and thirteen the gap has closed a bit but still a big gape. The thirteen-year old is ready to start high school while the one nine is still in grammar school. At seventeen and twenty-one the gap is still significant in my opinion. I have a sister three years younger and one over four years younger. When I was twenty-one they were still in high school and just completing high school. My level of development was significantly greater. Now that we have all been married and have grown children there is no age gap. But, hey, this is a minor quibble.
]...hasn’t had a life as sheltered as Emma has had...
I agree that Emma has had a sheltered life but so has Harriet and in this situation I think Harriet has the greater disadvantage. We are told that "she had no visible friends but what had been acquired at Highbury..." The friends she has gone to see are friends from her school, the Martin sisters who live on Mr. Knightley's estate which is within walking distance of Hartfield. I don't know if Emma has ever been to London for sure or not but people seem to generally agree that she has. I would wager that Emma is privy to more gossip than Harriet. She has it from the sources of her own set, from Harriet's set and from the poor whose homes she visits. And finally if you take a Sheltered Harriet and put her into a Sheltered Emma's environment, Emma has the advantage and comfort of being in her everyday home while Harriet is in a new one. This gives Emma the edge, I would think. No doubt this is more quibbling but in the interest of supporting my view.... :)
]she is sweet, docile and not clever or unduly intelligent...This is how *Emma* sees her.
]What’s stopping her from following her heart *and* mind in this particular ‘case of marriage’
This is the part that makes Harriet not-blameless. She always had the right to follow her own path. But as Mr. Knightley calls it, "vanity working on a weak head, will always produce mischief." The pathway of life is littered with people who have allowed others to steer them wrongly by people who can take advantage of those less clever or intelligent, who have less self-esteem, etc.
]IMO she goes along because she too has ideas of belonging to the gentry.
I don't see it that way. When Harriet receives the proposal letter, Emma is "half ashamed of her friend for seeming so pleased and so doubtful." (7) Emma thought she had convinced Harriet that she should expect to marry a gentry gentleman but Harriet's pleasure at the proposal and doubting if she should refuse it shows, imo, that Emma has not been so successful after all and Harriet really does not necessarily have any designs of marrying into the gentry, at least at this time. If Harriet were set on marrying a gentleman she would have immediately sent a refusal and called it a day. There would have been no doubt. Instead, Emma has to literally guide her into refusing Mr. Martin.
Thanks for your response...I do suppose we will differ...but I love the way this all gets my sluggish brain teeming.
On the other hand, I need to get a life beyond this group read. I need to do some cleaning before the dust bunnies run me out of here...:)
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