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Written by Robbin
(2/24/2011 1:35 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Picturing Emma., penned by Reeba
I agree that Emma is not personally vain but I also think she has pride enough to dress well and fashionably in order to look her best. I don’t think she would do less than that. Kathleen Glancy has a good point in that Emma may do the bulk of her shopping in town. If it had not been winter the framing of Harriet’s portrait would have been overseen by Isabella, “the usual doer of all commissions” (6). If I have not misinterpreted Emma does curl her hair: “The hair was curled, and the maid sent away” (16) which I am not suggesting is vain but it does show that she takes care in her appearance. I had noted this because I want to get a good mental picture of Emma’s appearance and I was hoping for more information but this seems too fair an opportunity to pass. (:D) The narrator claims Emma is handsome (1) and in Ch. 5 Mr. Knightley says that she is pretty and later very handsome and Mrs. Weston claims her to be beautiful:
"Such an eye! the true hazle eye -- and so brilliant! regular features, open countenance, with a complexion! oh! what a bloom of full health, and such a pretty height and size; such a firm and upright figure. There is health, not merely in her bloom, but in her air, her head, her glance. One hears sometimes of a child being "the picture of health;" now Emma always gives me the idea of being the complete picture of grown-up health. She is loveliness itself." (5)
From all this, much from her friends, I picture Emma as (at least) very pretty with hazel eyes and a rosy complexion—perhaps her hair is dark as it often is with hazel eyes and she wears it curled—perhaps a fringe around her face. Regular features suggest nothing more than no children will be calling her big nose—rather they are all fine but only her eyes distinctive in their brilliance. A height that is “pretty” may suggest tall if Mrs. Weston thinks along the same lines as Emma: “Her [Jane Fairfax] height was pretty, just such as almost everybody would think tall, and nobody could think very tall” (20). I think the description of a firm upright figure suggests little fat and good posture. The idea of health being expressed in her air, head and glance suggests to me that Emma is rather active and has an easy physicality—perhaps if General Tilney had opportunity (thankfully not) he would compliment her on the “elasticity of her walk” (NA, 13). Emma’s happy disposition (1) suggests to me a ready smile.
Thanks for reading! (:D)
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