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|A Defining Moment for Emma
Written by BarbaraB
(3/6/2011 7:34 p.m.)
As Glen has pointed out, this week's section has been full of a lot of dramatic but also positive activity for Emma. After the Box Hill scolding from Mr. Knightley I have been pleased to read the words 'reflection', 'meditations', and 'self knowledge' which Emma has been striving for. Out of all this comes something that I have never noticed before until last night. It is within the following quote:
"You will not ask me what is the point of envy. You are determined, I see, to have no curiosity. You are wise -- but I cannot be wise. Emma, I must tell what you will not ask, though I may wish it unsaid the next moment."
"Oh! then, don't speak it, don't speak it," she eagerly cried. "Take a little time, consider, do not commit yourself."
Now this is what I'm talking about. In the Box Hill fiasco, Emma is disposed not to even feel guilty for what she has done, let alone realize for herself the hurt she has caused Miss Bates. Mr. Knightley has to point it out. In the above quote we see Emma do this for herself. She realizes that she has said something that is perhaps not something to have said, pauses and gets beyond her own feelings to consider someone else's. She's gotten beyond it being all about Emma.
She sees she has not been gracious: "I stopped you ungraciously, just now..." We see how Emma has grown from the same sort of thing with Jane at the dinner. She was able to see that she said something that did not go over well with Jane but went immediately into it being about herself and not getting what she wanted instead of being able to pause, consider the possibilities of Jane's feelings and at least try to engage her in a more sincere conversation.
Emma is much rewarded here for her maturity and also it is nice that Mr. Knightley who has been trying to help guide her to this point is the recipient. Some might say, it is easier for her to accomplish this with Mr. Knightley, someone she loves, and that would probably be true, but she must begin somewhere and I think she is now well-primed to continue to redeem herself regarding those she has wronged by her inappropriate thoughts and behavior. A defining moment---I'm pulling for her.
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