Posted by Laraine on July 23, 1997 at 14:10:47:
In reply to Re: Emma's faults posted by Sylvia on July 23, 1997 at 13:11:44
]... Before the action of the book, Emma's faults and mischieviousness weren't really elucidated. In fact, I believe that Emma's faults were more of the getting-her-own-way variety than something truly reprehensible. Another "fault" that comes to mind is Emma's saying she will read more, but never does. She doesn't apply herself to academic study. But we know she is clever--so maybe she didn't find any books that sparked her imagination. Clever people oftentimes come off as bored or unable to apply themselves. But then of course, Emma's innate goodness (just like Mr. Knightley's) offsets all of these "faults."
I'm not sure, but I agree that it's a testing of her power. Emma's a really quick child, and some of her snottiness to Knightley is (IMHO) just figuring out whether he'll let her win a particular battle.
Tied in here somewhere is the idea that Knightley's opinions of Emma as a child are still with him. I love the quote
"Emma has been meaning to read more ever since she was twelve years old. I have seen a great many lists of her drawing-up at various times of books that she meant to read regularly through--and very good lists they were--very well chosen, and very neatly arranged--sometimes alphabetically, and sometimes by some other rule. The list she drew up when only fourteen--I remember thinking it did her judgment so much credit, that I preserved it some time; and I dare say she may have made out a very good list now."
He's obviously been paying a lot of attention to her for a long time, and admiring what's good in her as well as observing what's not-so-good.