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Written by Moni
(5/8/2008 12:27 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, I don't know which reading this has been for me, penned by Nancy Ann
I think there is a fair chance Emma will be different, because she takes on one of Mr Knightley's values, in her parting comment to Jane. Before this, Emma was very fond of intrigues and schemes, and probably did make a kind of world of her own in her little circle, growing up. There are also many moments at this same visit to Jane and the Bates', that Mrs Elton's hooks, or attempts to unsettle her, or encourage gossip, are not responded to by Emma.
What occurred to me on this reading is how strong willed Emma is, intent on following through on things, even if they have gone wrong before. I recall even in the early stages of the novel, after her first matchmaking disaster, she wonders how she can find a compassionate match for Jane. It's only very fleeting, but it's there.
I don't like the way she treated Harriet, to the greater part. In some ways Emma is blessed like Frank, to have all come out right, possibly because of her status. While Emma has some hope of reform, in benefiting from the strength and standards, and true gentlemanly status of Mr Knightley, I do wonder at the power of Frank to reform, in spite of his long, long letter. I wonder about Jane's fortitude, whether it will hold out as the years go on. The Knightley comment about FC being the kind of man to say what was pleasing to anyone, and get away with it, seems to be still very active, there.
That letter, IMO, was correctly commented on by Mr Knightley, and his comments weren't cynical or irrelevant. Yet Emma is soft on him, for unknown reasons. Perhaps she feels guilty for her own errors, and may feel a kinship with him because she also lost her mother? Who knows. Perhaps this is why they are both a little unsteady and fond of schemes and intrigues?
All of Frank's time in the novel, besides the very end, was sustained in a highly sophisticated general state of living in an intrigue. Emma also lived in a state of mind that wasn't altogether realistic, yet she seems keen to self-examine.
I can't imagine Emma will get away with manipulating Mr Knightley at any stage, which will be good for her, and she will also learn how to be "decided and open", as he is. However, conversely, I do believe, after the hell FC put JF through, he would do it again. There is still something in him, in spite of trying to really be fair to him this time, I still just do not like or trust him. Even the long letter seemed to say so much, almost aggrandising all his errors and making great shows of contrition.
I think somewhere in the novel was a comment to the effect that love did not have to always spoken of, if it was true, and I think this is valid. And in many ways, FC's great shows often may compare with Mrs Elton's, even though they are not as frequent as hers.
If Emma had married FC, as the Westons had secretly wished for, it would have been a disaster both ways. She has far more hope of maturity in partnership with the wonderful Mr Knightley.
(The GR has been intriguing, totally aware of JA detail again, and highly aware of the benefits of reads such as this, because of this. Thanks to Laraine, JulieW for such enlightening posts, and everyone involved in the discussions.)
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