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|Emma Woodhouse - Fighter for Equality
Written by Antoinette
(5/3/2008 4:16 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Beg to differ., penned by Rachel G
I understand the difficulties of illegitimacy in that time and place and the desire to increase ones social position and wealth through marriage. I don't understand why putting these ideas first in considering whether a friend should marry the woman he loves doesn't make you a snob. As I have been trying to say throughout this entire Group Read it is a snobby time and Highhbury is a snobby village. But the beginning of this thread imagines that Emma's snobbery is her own creation that she "gets it" from no one. Actually she gets it from everyone, eats, sleeps and breathes in a world where a person's value is determined at birth. A concept even Mr. Knightley can subscribe to.
If anything Emma is the radical egalitarian of Highbury. She thinks the "unfortunate circumstances" of Harriet's birth should not get the in the way of her marrying a man of wealth and consequence. A total snob would never have befriended Miss Smith let alone plotted her marriage into the Churchills. Yes, yes she thinks these things because she wants to play matchmaker. But nevertheless when it fits her idea of what's best she rises above the snobbery of her age. While on the other hand, despite his basic goodness, Mr. Knightley will often sink down into the snobbery of his age. They are both captives of Regency England.
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