Posted by Susan on June 24, 1997 at 19:25:54:
In reply to Mr. Woodhouse posted by Kathy on June 24, 1997 at 10:00:06
I am interested in Mr. Woodhouse as a parent and how
having a ridiculous parent like him influences Emma.
I would like to read any posts or be directed to any
references about him.
Had Mr. Woodhouse been Emma's only male influence, and had he been less easy to manipulate, he could have been a trial indeed. However, I think she figured out how to deal with him at a young age and, as described in the book, she pretty much ruled the roost. I feel his influence was minimal, although she genuinely loved him and was always solicitous of his comfort. Mr. Knightley probably had a lot more to do with how she viewed an appropriate male -- hence all the references to others about how he exemplified a gentleman, without saying the same of her father.
I particularly like the interactions between John Knightley and Mr. W. The latter clearly tests the former's patience to the nth degree. Although John recognizes that his father-in-law is due at least some respect, it is difficult for him to hold his tongue, and he usually has to make reparation later. The scene back at Hartfield after the Christmas party at the Westons, when John has earlier been less than charitable and is trying to make up for it, just cracks me up:
"…Mr. John Knightley, ashamed of his ill-humour, was now all
kindness and attention; and so particularly solicitous for the comfort of her father, as to seem--if not quite ready to join him in a basin of gruel--perfectly sensible of its being exceedingly wholesome…."
I remember Mr. W led to a great deal of my LOL's the first time I read Emma, and he continues to amuse with each re-reading. But then I don't have to live with him!