The Novel Emma about Etiquette, Mannerisms and Rules by Jane Austen

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The novel Emma was published within the 18th century. A time where a whole different form of etiquette, mannerisms and rules were to be abided by. Prestige was known as the hierarchy of all. In Jane Austen’s novel Emma, the social class, and women depending on marriage determines one’s fate. The judgement of whether one is good enough and worthy of such praise is consistent throughout the novel.

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Throughout the novel, Emma Woodhouse, “handsome clever and rich” (Austen 1) induces her own beliefs within every scenario allowing her judgement of one to manipulate others feelings. Throughout the novel, Emma Woodhouse attempts to match relationships based on her judgement of a person rather than their heart. This flaw of hers is revealed with her companion Harriet Smith of not being accepting of Mr. Martin (the lowest class characters in the entire novel) due to his poor social status. Throughout all of this, Harriet is cast under Emma’s instructions praising her for every word that cast out of her mouth completely ignoring Emma’s rejection of Harriets true love.It becomes more clear now emma can be judgemental. In substitution, Emma imposeses her will rather suggesting mr. Elton being a fine match for Harriet rather Mr. Martin.Emma’s first mistake was to believe that Mr. Elton and Harriet were truly in love, and would make a lovely pair.Continuing with “I should be surprised if after seeing him, you could be in company with Mr. Martin again” (Austen 45) Perhaps if Emma were not so wrapped up within her very own judgement she would be able to see sooner rather than later Mr. Elton had favoured in her the whole time. Emma’s sense of judgement is seen very strongly within the character reviving intimacy between Harriet Smith and Mr. Martin. It becomes clear that Emma solely focuses on prestige matters. This becomes a reality to the reader that people within the 18 century had to deal with, giving into the higher socials. Given how the novel is set in the 1800’s where a woman’s place was set in stone it is easy to see all the time on Emma’s hands and what her priorities retain of. When analyzing Emma Woodhouses judgemental orientation one must take into account how much of a priority it was within the 18 century. Marriage was the way of life. For woman like Emma Woodhouse and Harriet Smith alike, being married describes proprietary as a person. There was no excusing traditional roles within society. Those within the lower class depended on those in higher class to secure their confidence.Within the novel, Social status controls the bonds between the characters, and their actions that expose their true characters. To continue, the novel Emma badger class. “Emma is benign towards the poor but is harsh towards the talented” (Graham) This reveals Emma’s character that keeps her in plateau for a good portion of the novel. Emma continues to dabble in other characters hearts without looking within her very own. The independence of Emma can be underappreciated within the novel given how Emma sees marriage as a waste of time; “Fortune I do not want; employment I do not want; consequence I do not want. I believe few married women are half as much mistress of their husbands house as I am of Hartfield…” (Austen 73) Emma’s thoughts on marriage make her situation even more unacceptable, Within Chapter ten, Emma and Harriet talk about Emma’s feelings toward marriage as they are walking past the vicarage on their way to visit a poor, sick family on the edge of Highbury. Harriet begins the conversation by saying “ I do so wonder miss. Woodhouse, that you should not be married or going to be married- so charming as you are.” (Austin 237) only to get a response rejecting by saying “And I am not only going to not marry in present, but have very little intention of ever marrying at all” Emma realizes the predicament she is in given if she were to be swayed in a marriage it would destroy her interrogation tendencies and put her into an entirely new stage to play in. The stubbornness Does not last with Emma given her falling in love with Mr.Knightley.

When Emma realizes her matchmaking tendencies have been wrong the entire time; in particular with Mr. Elton and Harriet. Not only are the two not a great match but Mr. Elton has had strong feelings toward Emma all along that she did not notice; “ Till now that she was threatened with its loss, Emma had never known how much of her happiness depend on being first with mr knightley.. She Enjoyed it without reflection.” (Austen 376) Emmas is developing a form of change. A realization of needed company she has taken advantage of before. She had a moment of self awareness knowing she has done wrong and does not deserve mr knightley. Mr. Knightley is the revival changing emma for the better. Not agreeing to put Emma high on a pedestal just to make her ego fuel is the ultimate rebellion within the story given everyone did the exact opposite since Emma’s presence. She begins to change. Several events happen to mark the evolution of Emma from childishness to maturity. Emma misreading Mr. Elton’s feelings not towards Harriet but towards herself. Through this experience, “every part of it brought pain and humiliation,” (Austin 324) Emma learns that she is capable of making mistakes and that her actions can have serious consequences (Razno). Another incident is when Emma tests limits being ever so cruel to Mrs. Bates at Box Hill. In serious moment after the incident, Emma realizes “she had been often remiss, her conscience told her so… scornful, ungracious ”(Austen 321). With this realization, she decides to “call upon Mrs. Bates The very next morning, and it should be the beginning, on her side, of a regular, equal, kindly intercourse” (Emma 385). Emma’s walk to Mrs. Bates’ door represents her first steps into adulthood. Emma is now humbled to the extent of apologizing to a women she previously considered crazy. For once, the focus is not set on emma’s beauty rather the incident. Finally, Emma realizes her feelings for longtime friend mr Knightley. Being so caught up in others intimacies, Emma does not realize she had in fact caught up in love with Mr. Knightley. Mr. Knightley being the only person who could see faults in Emma woodhouse and the only one whoever told her of them” ( Austen 17) Given Emma is hardly critiqued comes the result of a bratty young woman. Mr. Knightley is the glue that transforms Emma’s whole demeanor, changes her identity. Emma’s maturity is what eventually leads her to marriage. “I have very little to say for my own conduct. I was tempted by his attention, and allowed myself to appear pleased.”

Emma incorporates the use of symbolism to illustrate the characters. The first clear example of symbolism are the riddles. symbolize the penetrating sayings that wait to be interpreted within the characters interactions with one and another. In Chapter 9, Mr. Elton presents a riddle to Emma and Harriet. Emma interprets it immediately, as “courtship,” but she interprets it wrong believing it is meant for Harriet rather than her own self. Similar to the riddle, a word game is played throughout the story. For example,between Emma, Frank, and Jane as Mr. Knightley looks on, Frank uses child’s blocks to create words for Emma and Jane to decode, though these words mean numerous things to each of them. Frank makes the word “blunder,” which Jane understands as referring to a mistake he has just made, but the meaning does not ring a bell to Emma and Mr. knightley one bit. Frank continues using the word “dixon” in which Emma understands as a joke on Jane, in result, frustrates Knightley.

Everyone that evening “blunders” in different ways because no one possesses the exact information to interpret what truly is going on. The use of symbolism extends as certain objects take on tokens of affection. Mr. Elton frames Emma’s portrait of Harriet as a symbol of affection for her. Emma’s misinterprets this for a symbol of affection for harriet.When the engagement between Jane and Frank is momentarily called off, she gives back his letters to symbolize her turning over of his affection.

Jane Austen takes her readers through much iron pervasiveness and distrust. Knowing that Austen of course too great of a writer and her framed sense of irony is too much in play to make us think that the “Perfect happiness of the union” will be perfect. That Emma’s characteristic sense of self importance will be totally reformed. (Nixon) Austen puts the character Emma and the reader in a position of growth and keeps the reader engaged throughout the novel. Austen was often praised for conforming to this ideal by writing in a feminine style and staying away from more masculine themes. Her feelings towards marriage stand out the most. Within emma’s time, women were always taken care of through marriage or some other arrangement, such as being made a governess. Women were not independent beings. Emma Woodhouse would be breaking this rule. The sense of rebellion within the novel is sly but very clear. Overall, Emma Woodhouse represents every human being with a matter of judgement at first and continued growth through experiences.

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The novel Emma about etiquette, mannerisms and rules by Jane Austen. (2022, Sep 05). Retrieved October 7, 2022 , from

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