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Written by Robbin
(3/2/2011 11:08 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, I agree with your viewpoint, penned by Ramya
I donít think the conversation between Emma and Mr. Woodhouse in Ch. 32 is meant to be only Emmaís satire, just a joke to divert her father or to point out the intellectually poverty of her situation. I donít discount those points because certainly any piece of dialog in JA may do double-duty. (:D) I feel this conversation touches on Emmaís habit of avoiding social duty when it is unpleasant (Miss Bates & Miss Fairfax) which is a recurring theme consisting of neglect and wrong headed thinking.
At this point Emma thinks less of Mrs. Eltonís rights as a bride because the lady is vulgar, unpleasant and Emma dislikes her. Emma wants to reassure her father the Eltonís forgive his failure to wait on them and when he refuses to be reassured she suggests the visit and his ideas of what a bride is due just encourages what he does not wantómarriage. This can be playful wit but I think the emphasis in the last line on her signals it is Emma who does not understand her fatherís point:
Emma had done. Her father was growing nervous, and could not understand her. Her mind returned to Mrs. Elton's offences, and long, very long, did they occupy her. (32)
It is not directly said in the text that Emma avoids Miss Bates at the Coles party but I think it is more likely than not considering her feelings, inclination and the situation. First of all there is no text to suggest Emma properly noticed Miss Bates in a simple greeting or that she did anything further. I canít just assume she did because I have no confidence in her sense of duty towards the lady. As Gianni pointed out in post 50273 it is Emmaís habit and inclination to avoid Miss Bates. Second, Emma felt the large company relieved her of any duty to approach Jane and it is likely she felt the same about the aunt.
Third, who Emma spoke with and what she did in the Coles drawing room seems to be completely laid out starting with the arrival of the inferior ladiesóMiss Bates and Miss Fairfax, the Miss Coxes and Miss Smith. At this point Emma is seated; there is no account of her going to meet them rather she just watches their entrance. Miss Fairfax and Miss Bates take seats directly across the circle from Emma. As far as I can tell Emma never leaves her seat until she is asked to perform. The only time Miss Bates is near Emma (when Jane is performing) they do not speak.
Lastly, I donít think it is a coincidence Emma is snubbed by Mrs. Elton at her party (35) after Emma snubbed (at least) Jane at the Coles party (26). Emma sees her own poor behavior displayed with far less elegance by Mrs. Elton and does not recognize her own fault in another. I donít why there would be such a parallel scene as I described in post 50223 if it is not to point back to Emmaís own similar poor behavior.
Anyway, just my opinionsóthanks for reading! (:D)
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