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|Discouraging Harriet from accepting Robert Martin
Written by Tracy W
(4/7/2008 7:37 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Why?, penned by nan duval
Emma wants to stop Harriet from marrying Robert Martin and she is using all the manipulative tactics to do that she can think of. What Emma is doing here is threatening Harriet with a more subtle version of the schoolyard "If you do this/don't do this I won't be your friend any more". Being somewhat older than six, of course, Emma dresses it up as "I couldn't be your friend anymore."
Look at the exchange shortly before the section you quote:
"Perfectly, perfectly right, my dearest Harriet; you are doing just what you ought. While you were at all in suspense I kept my feelings to myself, but now that you are so completely decided I have no hesitation in approving. (chpt 7)
Now Emma is smart enough to know that a girl who says "I have...really almost made up my mind" and "Do you think I am right" is not in fact "completely decided". In support of this, later on, we have the statement that:
For this reason, and some others I won't discuss yet, I read this as Emma could be friends with the Martins, but at the moment it suits Emma's purposes to claim she couldn't.
In case anyone has any doubts, I totally disapprove of Emma using such nasty underhanded methods on Harriet.
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