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|Well, he is not demented, but he is not as sharp as
Written by AnnetteJ
(2/12/2011 10:12 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Emma and Class, penned by Bridget D
he probably once was -- he seems to have spent years relishing his obsession with health, food, travel, etc. Austen shows us only his later years -- we have no idea what he was like as a younger man except for his admission that he could not control Emma the way her mother could. It is hard for me to believe that he was the source of Emma's exaggerated class consciouness. IMO Emma carries her sense of entitlement to extremes.
Let's face it, it is difficult for many modern people (I include myself in this group) to have any sympathy or empathy for those who profitted from a class system that brought misery to so many people for so many centuries. I do recognize my prejudice against Emma in this regard -- but it doesn't make it any easier to like her. Unless I totally misunderstand Austen's famous remark about Emma, this extreme class consciousness may have been part of what the author felt would prevent many readers from liking her character. Austen could have made Robert Martin, for example, a real clod and buffoon and let it go -- Emma would have been justified in influencing her friend from marrying such a man, regardless of wanting to pair her with Mr Elton. But she did not. Emma's attitude toward Robert Martin was one of the first clues that the reader has that Emma is truly "clueless," and IMO it is all about social class.
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