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|Old Maids: Emma is like Miss Bates
Written by Maisy
(4/10/2008 6:18 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Speaking of old maids..., penned by MarianneR
Speaking about possible similarities between herself and Miss Bates, Emma tells Harriet: "But between us, I am convinced there never can be any likeness, except in being unmarried" (ch. 10). However, despite Emma's claims otherwise, there is some evidence in the text that indicates how Emma could, in fact, end up having more than her married state in common with Miss Bates.
"Dear me! but what shall you do? how shall you employ yourself when you grow old?"I agree that Emma has an active, busy mind. (Her matchmaking attempts are proof positive of this.) But does she really have "many independent resources"? Or at least, is she in the habit of making use of them? Does she follow through with her reading lists? Does she practice her music? Does she finish her sewing/handiwork projects? From what I've seen of Emma so far, I'd have to say no. So then, how will Emma occupy herself when she gets older, and fend off being thought of as the unpleasant type of old maid that she describes to Harriet?
Emma refers to the role Isabella's children will play in this:
as for objects of interest, objects for the affections, which is in truth the great point of inferiority, the want of which is really the great evil to be avoided in not marrying, I shall be very well off, with all the children of a sister I love so much, to care about. There will be enough of them, in all probability, to supply every sort of sensation that declining life can need. There will be enough for every hope and every fear; and though my attachment to none can equal that of a parent, it suits my ideas of comfort better than what is warmer and blinder. My nephews and nieces: I shall often have a niece with me."This reminds me of Miss Bates' love for her niece Jane Fairfax. If Emma has no other occupation than her nieces and nephews, then she might, after all, take to talking about them a great deal. Therefore, from where I'm sitting, Emma could, despite her insistence to the contrary, have more in common with Miss Bates than merely being unmarried. :-)
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