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Written by Tarn
(5/1/2008 2:02 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Emma & Augusta mirror one another., penned by Rachel G
Mrs Elton is coarse enough to verbalize sentiments we know Emma holds but does not explicitly state. Emma's sins are more of ommission, Mrs Elton's, of commission. We know of Emma's goodness and sweetness in her treatment of Mr Woodhouse, Harriet, the little Knightleys. And she is no Johnny-come-lately attempting to establish herself in Highbury society.
Holding Mrs Elton up as a mirror for Emma, showing all her worst qualities in frightful caricature, seems to bring out the best in Emma, as well as to remind the reader of Emma's best.
Even though Emma has been prompted to alter her ways merely when a state of warfare with one young lady might be supposed to recommend the other, we know (although the good folk of Highbury might not) that Emma blames no-one but herself, sees clearly that her thought, if not her behavior has been self-important, presuming, familiar, ignorant, and ill-bred, and sets about finding a remedy immediately.
One highlighted feature of Mrs Elton is that she consistently refuses to be gainsaid, on the beauties of Surry, the merits of Bath, or anything else. On one hand, this is similar to Emma's past willful persistence in her own match-making notions, but on the other, it shows Emma has a capacity to survey her own faults with unflinching honesty, and we see no hint of such merit in Mrs Elton.
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