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|Chapters 20 and 34 in particular...
Written by gianni
(3/16/2011 10:05 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, But do we know how Emma..., penned by Reeba
Ch 10: "Do you know Miss Bates's niece? That is, I know you must have seen her a hundred times -- but are you acquainted?"
Ch 12: And she talked in this way so long and successfully that, when forced to give her attention again to her father and sister, she had nothing worse to hear than Isabella's kind inquiry after Jane Fairfax; -- and Jane Fairfax, though no great favourite with her in general, she was at that moment very happy to assist in praising.
Ch. 20: "Emma was sorry to have to pay civilities to a person she did not like through three long months! to be always doing more than she wished, and less than she ought! Why she did not like Jane Fairfax might be a difficult question to answer; Mr. Knightley had once told her it was because she saw in her the really accomplished young woman, which she wanted to be thought herself; and though the accusation had been eagerly refuted at the time, there were moments of self-examination in which her conscience could not quite acquit her. ...
Ch. 21: Mr. Knightley praises Emma for her attentions to Jane, is bitterly disappointed when she reveals that she was actually digging for dirt.
Ch. 31: "Oh! the coldness of a Jane Fairfax! Harriet is worth a hundred such: and for a wife -- a sensible man's wife -- it is invaluable. "
Ch. 34: "she could now invite the very person whom she really wanted to make the eighth, Jane Fairfax. Since her last conversation with Mrs. Weston and Mr. Knightley, she was more conscience-stricken about Jane Fairfax than she had often been. Mr. Knightley's words dwelt with her. He had said that Jane Fairfax received attentions from Mrs. Elton which nobody else paid her. "
Yes, any of the other snippets could be explained away or dismissed on their own, but ch. 20 and ch. 34 can only admit one reasonable interpretation. And considering that both emphasize a long period, even a lifetime, of neglect and dislike, doesn't that urge toward the same interpretation of the rest? And depending upon your urgency to avoid finding fault in Emma, many of those I left out could -- maybe should -- fall into this category, too.
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