Posted by Kali on July 23, 1997 at 23:14:46:
In reply to Does Emma need rescuing? posted by Laraine on July 23, 1997 at 14:20:47
Part of me thinks that Highbury might be a really awful place to live. Emma has some resources of her own, but really: No equals, little you can do on your own.
Indeed: Upon Mrs. Weston's marriage, "with all her advantages, natural and domestic, [Emma] was now in great danger of suffering from intellectual solitude." Or any kind of solitude, as Highbury - a large an populous village nearly amounting to a town - is probably very similar to some of our colorless but relatively large valley towns here in California. Not a whole lot of vibrant stimulation. Not exactly my idea of metropolis.
At Emma's age, most modern young women have left home for school or work. Or - now as then - to marry. To save her from her own self-destructive boredom impulses, she needs to reprioritize her life on adult terms, because her old habits are those of a child. In other words, yes - she needs saving, and Mr. Knightley is the only person - intellectually and honestly - who can do it. By A) teaching her a little bit about life, and B) marrying her (cringe or not cringe, depending on you).