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|Another instance concerning visiting, etc.
Written by BarbaraB
(4/14/2008 4:08 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Gosh what a shocking crime, penned by Tracy W
]I read the section about Emma as not contributing what she ought as referring to her lack of visits, not to any material neglect.
]...feeding her guests much more generously than Mr Woodhouse's care for their health would recommend.
-Emma and the Bates ladies:
Emma has many redeeming attributes and admiral qualities. She must have or when the Harriet/Martin/Elton debacle comes along, who would be interested in such a creature---she would be villianess instead of a heroine. We would, however, I feel, be remiss if we allowed too much leeway in her faults and mistakes. They are just important to a good reading of the story as her assests in my opinion.
As I stated in the Frank-Emma-Knightley-post below, visiting is a duty: "Never delay a visit when due. Any sense that an expected call is paid with reluctance will, naturally cause offence. Commenting on an early chapter of her neices novel, in 1814, the Authoress warned 'Your G.M. (Grandmother) is more disturbed at Mrs. F.'s not returning the Egerton's visit sooner than anything else. They ought to have called at the Parsonage before Sunday." (Ross and Webb).
"She had had many a hint from Mr. Knightley and some from her own heart, as to her deficiency -- but none were equal to counteract the persuasion of its being very disagreeable, -- a waste of time -- tiresome women --" Emma is being unpardonably rude in her thoughts, so to speak, let alone in practice. She knows she should not be acting this way and she has had many gentle reminders from Mr. K. (As an aside, I feel that Mr. K., while certainly not perfect, is provided for us generally as a yardstick for measuring what is honorable and right.)
When Jane, again, as quoted in my other post, recorded in 1804 about visits being paid as a duty to the 'newly-wed, the bereaved; and those in straitened circumstances', this supports Emma's grave neglect of duty which comtemporary Regency readers would have understood. (Straitened circumstances = financial hardship---American Heritage Dictionary) Even when she finally decides to go up to pay the Bateses a visit it is not out of courtesy at all. She is going because they will provide safety in numbers. Having figured out that it is not time for a letter from Jane, Emma decides the 'tiresome women' will be the lesser of two evils between having to tolerate them for a bit to listening to Harriet, in her distress, go on and on about her loss of Mr. Elton thus, having to make her (Emma) have to suffer further punishment/guilt for her responsibility of having caused it all in the first place. Emma's good fortune here is that Miss Bates and her mother do not hold her neglect and lack of good manners toward them against her. They are always glad to see her, their goodness highlighting Emma's want of it in instances such as this all the more.
Yes, Emma has many wonderful qualities as we all know, one of which is her ability to see her faults and admit them. This shows her great potential for what she could be---the heights she could achieve as a human being if she is willing to put forth the effort, but for now she seems intent on canceling out all the good she does with a parade of unbecoming and negative thoughts, speculations, and activities. Maybe things will improve. We'll have to see.
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