Posted by kathleen (elder) on June 26, 1997 at 16:08:13:
In reply to Re: Jane Austen and Emma always said what they liked to one another... posted by Sylvia on June 26, 1997 at 14:36:37
]I DO like Emma--although she does try me exceedingly at times. I thought it was just a little drastic to call marrying Robert Martin a degradation even though she might not have meant anything cruel by it. Especially since she based that pronouncement solely on his occupation and status in the community (not on personally knowing him). I agree that Emma was trying to live vicariously through Harriet because of her boredom. But since she knew that Robert Martin was interested in Harriet (and Harriet in Robert), and as Harriet's friend, why couldn't she take pains to better get to know him so she could make a more well-rounded judgment on his suitability for Harriet. And as she virtually "rules the roost" of Highbury, she could set a better example for her community (as does Mr. Knightley).
At this stage, Emma is still a (bit of a) spoiled brat. She KNOWS that Harriet is the daughter (albeit illegitimate) of a gentleman, and she KNOWS that the Martin family is scheming to get Harriet to marry Robert Martin, and she KNOWS that Mr Elton is attracted to Harriet, and she KNOWS that she (Emma) is the only person who has such a wonderful gift of matchmaking!
Because she knows more and better than everyone else, she's mostly wrong and has the potential to cause a lot of damage. By the time she marries Mr Knightley, she has grown up enough to be Highbury's first lady. I suspect the two Knightleys will, in fact, set an incredibly good example for everyone in the community.