|GR:Poor Emma-civil almost to the last
Written by JulieW
(11/7/2003 6:46 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Emma's 'civility', penned by Tzivia
" If any thing could be more, where all was most, she was more reserved on the subject of Weymouth and the Dixons than any thing. She seemed bent on giving no real insight into Mr. Dixon's character, or her own value for his company, or opinion of the suitableness of the match. It was all general approbation and smoothness; nothing delineated or distinguished. It did her no service however. Her caution was thrown away. Emma saw its artifice, and returned to her first surmises. There probably was something more to conceal than her own preference; Mr. Dixon, perhaps, had been very near changing one friend for the other, or been fixed only to Miss Campbell, for the sake of the future twelve thousand pounds.
The like reserve prevailed on other topics"
Emma,trying to be a civil hostess was acting politely talking on subjects, the like of which Jane could be expected to hold opinions,and was rebuffed by cold politness at every turn!Of course Emma wanted to talk of Fank Churhcill! Didn' everyone( with the possible exception of Mr Knightley).?He was after all,
"one of the boasts of Highbury, and a lively curiosity to see him prevailed, though the compliment was so little returned that he had never been there in his life. His coming to visit his father had been often talked of but never achieved.
Jane Fairfax has a guilty secret and this is what colours all her behaviour.She is theone who is impolite.
But of course Emma knows nothing of this and concludes rightly that she is being , in effect, snubbed.Consier teh voclabuary JA uses to describe Jane in this Chapter:
affectation of candour,
IN my reading of teh text we are not to ascribe good manners to this part of Jane's behaviour.
emma is not a woman without faultsespecailly later in teh novel when she makes her infamous attck on Miss Bates,,but in this instacne she tries very hard to be polite and a good hostess,engaging in converstaion to be met with coolness and reserve.From a woman of her own gneration,known to her an her family.I reallly do think Jane Farifax is being rude.
But let's not just take my view of it.Lets look at the conduct books.What do they have to say?
Mrs Chapone (in Letters on the Improvement of the Mind) has this advice,which Jane singularly fails to adopt,but Emma obliges to the letter:
"To be perfectly polite one must have great presence of mind,with a delicate and quick sense of propriety:or, in other words, one should be able to form an instantaneous judgement of what is fittest to be said or done, on every occasion as it occurs.......
Wherever there are human beings it must be impolite to hurt the temper or to shock the passions of those you converse with.It must everywhere be good breeding to set your companions in the most advantageous point of light,by giving each the opportunity of displayng their most agreeable talents,and by arefully avioding all occasions of exposing their defrects.;- to exert your own endeavours to please and to amuse but not to outshine them.......
Not engrossing the talk when others are desirous to speak, nor suffering the conversation to flag for want of introducing something to continue or renew a subject..in short it is an universal duty in society to consider others more than yourself......"
I could go on ,but won't as this post is too long already.;-)
We have seen in this chapter of the Group Read,just how important poiletness was.Jane Austen thought so too, IMHO>
This being so Jane was very rude when visiting Emma.She should not have outshone Emma in performance at the pianoforte- and ,by failing to carry on converations so aimiably begun by Emma she was doubly rude.
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