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Written by Robbin
(3/17/2011 11:18 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Snobbery, Mr. K, Emma, and Harriet, penned by BarbaraB
Thanks Barbara and I agree with you. (:D) I also agree Emma and Mr. Knightley accept the class system of their society as Bridget D has said but it seems to me sometimes Emma follows it in pride and conceit ignoring personal merit and contemporary advice. Mr. Knightley’s attitude towards the Martins and the Coles is in league with such advice while Emma’s behavior is specifically warned against:
Precepts of William Lord Burghley to his Son, 1770 pages 128-130.
Towards thy Superiors be humble, yet generous; with thine equals familiar, yet respective; Towards thy inferiors shew much humanity and some familiarity as to bow the body, stretch forth the Hand and to uncover the Head, with such like popular Compliments.
The first prepares thy Way to Adavancement, the second makes thee known for a Man well bred the third gains a good report which once got is easily kept for right Humanity takes such deep Root in the minds of the Mulititude as they are more easily gained by unprofitable Coutesies than by churlish Benefits"
Affable Behaviour makes them love you,but insolent and haughty Carriage they deride, they would even despise you for it, and your own behaviour would set you below them.
(I obtained this information from L&T post “This chapter shows Emma at her most” written by JulieW August 19, 2007 at http://www.pemberley.com/bin/archives/regarc.pl?read=47991)
Emma was insolent and haughty particularly to Mr. Martin on Donwell Road (4) but also to the female Martins at Abbey-Mill Farm (23) by cutting Harriet’s visit to them so short it is barely proper and glowed with the appearance of a great deal of ingratitude. As far as I know Mr. Knightley never adopted an insolent and haughty carriage towards Harriet or anyone else.
Emma’s reaction to the Cole’s invitation in Ch. 25 is quite different from Mr. Knightley’s. Emma’s initial response is to teach the Coles it is a presumption “to arrange the terms on which the superior families would visit them” (25) by refusing the invitation. It appears that the little hope Emma had of Mr. Knightley teaching the Coles their place was quickly squashed by his acceptance.
I think you make a good point that Mr. Knightley does not oppose people earning their way into the “good” society. It does seem Emma took exception to it unless it was her idea, as it was with Harriet or it was convenient for her, as was accepting the Coles invitation because she could not bear all her favorites partying while she stayed home in “solitary grandeur” (25). (:D)
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