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|This chapter always gets me
Written by Delories
(3/1/2011 10:48 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Emma's thoughts come-to-life, penned by BarbaraB
Others in this thread have also mentioned it as being "hard to read", because the moment when Emma is thoughtlessly cruel (because, under the circumstances, it IS cruel) is just so sad. Mr. Knightley's description of Miss Bates's situation is heart-breaking:
"She is poor; she has sunk from the comforts she was born to; and, if she live to old age, must probably sink more. Her situation should secure your compassion. It was badly done, indeed! You, whom she had known from an infant, whom she had seen grow up from a period when her notice was an honour [note that!], to have you now, in thoughtless spirits, and the pride of the moment, laugh at her, humble her -- and before her niece, too -- and before others, many of whom (certainly some,) would be entirely guided by your treatment of her."
Years ago, a friend said to me about "Emma", that it's amazing how JA wrote a novel in which "the real emotional climax is a somewhat snobbish young girl being rude to an old spinster at a picnic." What he meant was, that it's not a novel with Big Events, like death, or war, or adultery, or whatever. But the events that it does depict are Big Events to the ordinary people living them, and JA gives them their due. Which is what makes her, and the novel, great.
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