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|What/who is "vulgar", anyway?
Written by Delories
(2/18/2011 2:46 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Emma's double standard, penned by Kathleen Glancy
I've been trying to find evidence from anyone other than Emma herself on the Cox sisters' supposed vulgarity, but haven't come up with anything (from the omniscient narrator, from other characters...).
Is this idea that that the Cox girls are "vulgar" another one of Emma's fancies? Are they, like her conjectures about Jane Fairfax's adulterous inclinations, equally free of empirical evidence? Because if Emma is basing her opinion solely on their father's class/status (i.e. he is a "half-gentleman", ergo they are "vulgar"), then it shows how inconsistent she is, because she can consider a former governess like Mrs Weston or a future one like Jane Fairfax as models of ladylike behavior or elegance -- which, of course, they can be.
So maybe Emma's snobbery doesn't run quite so deep as all that. Maybe it's more that she cherishes her own feelings and opinions about people, and once she's made a snap judgement, is slow to change (whether to think better or worse of them); in fact won't change unless circumstances beyond her control (e.g. Mr Elton's proposal) give her a SUTH of reality. Look at Harriet: Emma takes a liking to her because she's pretty and malleable. Therefore, despite being "somebody's illegitimate daughter", Emma feels justified in thinking that Harriet is a perfect future wife for Mr Elton, and "too good" for Robert Martin or William Cox.
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