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|This is what I find endearing in Emma
Written by Martine
(3/31/2008 5:03 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Chapter 1 -- Emma's situation, penned by Joan Ellen
But the passage that shows how much she feels Miss Taylor's departure endears her to me. Here, I learn that Emma has a good, generous, heart. To me, it is crucial that JA counterbalanced our somewhat dull first impression of Emma with this important information about her character. Suddenly, Emma isn't just another rich little brat. The contrast of the snapshot first impression with this rather detailed description of how deeply she feels the loss of her friend sets her apart from others, in my mind. I want to know how come she isn't your "typical" rich girl.
This is even more striking when you read that she has lived her life mostly unchecked.
the mildness of [Miss Taylor's] temper had hardly allowed her to impose any restraint; and the shadow of authority being now long passed away, they had been living together as friend and friend very mutually attached, and Emma doing just what she liked; highly esteeming Miss Taylor's judgment, but directed chiefly by her own.
I'm always astonished that Emma did not become some sort of harpie. A child left to her our counsel could very easily have turned out to be a horrible person. Yet, Emma is not like that at all. She is misguided and makes mistakes due to inexperience, but she is fundamentally a good person. Which is why, just like Mr. Knightley, I'm very fond of her despite the fact that she is such a "fanciful, troublesome creature." :-)
It's like a game of mirrors. The first glance image of Emma is uninteresting. But seen through the mirror of her relationship with Miss Taylor, her father and Mr. Knightley, her image becomes rich and interesting in ways a simple description could not have accomplished.
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