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|Overcoming Jane’s Reserve
Written by Robbin
(2/23/2011 9:23 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, The portion you have bolded, penned by Ramya
It is Emma not Mr. Knightley who dislikes Jane’s reserve. I do not think Mr. Knightley asks Emma to overcome Jane’s reserve (21) after he has failed in the attempt. It does not seem to me he tried to overcome her reserve at all—he probably does not feel it necessary or even think it an obstacle. They appear to be just friends and if she is as open and conversational with him as she is with John Knightley in Ch. 34 how could there be a problem? I think when Mr. Knightley says Jane “has not the open temper which a man would wish for in a wife” he is merely stating his preference rather than a failure to overcome Jane’s reserve.
I have read and reread Emma and Mr. Knightley’s conversation in Ch. 21 and have yet to feel he is asking Emma to do more than he has already witnessed with regard to Jane. He gives Emma “his approbation of the whole” of the previous evening and “had now great pleasure in marking an improvement” in her attentions to Jane. It strikes me that Mr. Knightley is not telling Emma go out of her way to overcome Jane’s reserve but that more of the same wonderful attention he has been so keen to compliment will naturally “soon overcome all that part of her reserve which ought to be overcome” (21). Since he saw “neither provocation nor resentment” in Jane and Emma (respectively) when he talks of her overcoming Jane reserve he is under the mistaken impression that Emma will continue to leave no attention undone when it comes to Miss Fairfax. His mistake is in assuming the very best of Emma based on the “proper attention and pleasing behaviour on each side” he witnessed the previous evening. Poor deluded man—no wonder he is so disappointed that Emma had no pleasure in Jane’s company.
Thanks Ramya for pointing out that misread—I agree with your interpretation. (:D) Thanks for reading! (:D)
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