Posted by Kali on July 20, 1997 at 18:35:33:
In reply to Re: Good parents in Emma posted by kathleen (elder) on July 20, 1997 at 11:45:29
I have always assumed that John & Isabella Knightley were good parents, even though Isabella had a tendency to be over-protective. Certainly she wouldn't have wanted to give her children to anyone else to raise while she was still alive.
Kaf definitely has a point, though...perhaps "effective (healthy, &c.) family RELATIONSHIPS" are what we're lacking in the novel? John and Isabella are good people who love their children, but I can see real tensions flaring up as the childen get older - John pops attitude liberally, and Isabella has a tendency towards smothering, which does not bode well for teenagers...
Also consider that Isabella and John rarely come to Hartfield...John can't stand Mr. Woodhouse, and Isabella is in no position to intercede for her family, really. She's a second-rate daughter and woman in many ways, especially compared to Emma, who is super-conscientious of her father's needs.
As for the others - Mr. Woodhouse is kind, but selfish demanding. Mr. Weston overindulges Frank. Mrs. Weston overindulges both Frank and Emma. Harriet and her parents have never met. Jane has no parents, and she feels her loving relationship with the Campbells is improper past a point. Frank has two sets of parents, neither of which he respects. It goes on and on.
It's odd that Emma, in spite of her faults, is the only truly good daughter...and Mr. Knightley, though he has no kids, the best father figure. Unlike his brother, Mr. knightley is respectful of Emma - his surrogate daughter - and her family. And Emma, in valuing Mr. Knightley and the lessons which he teaches her, is respectful of her surrogate father. Kind of an icky baseline for comparison, I know...but I think that the George Knightleys will produce the healthiest - psychologically - family yet.