As one who doesn't like to review classic books, I find myself at a loss for words when it comes to Emma. In a language and time all in its own, where do I begin? From the setting, the manners, the society, and the roles of men and women, there isn't much for me to say. Trying to relate to these characters is a stretch, yet deep inside everybody can find something of themselves within these long ago written characters. From Emma to Mr. Knightly, we all have minds and hearts. So, when sitting down to write my thoughts on Emma, I once again find myself at a loss. Where do I start? What do I say? Why does it matter? I don't pretend to be of great literary knowledge, but I do have a few parting thoughts on one of Jane Austen's beloved novels.
Emma Woodhouse: busybody, snob, class-oriented, one-minded, selfish, and a few more words. She's a character most have hated and most will continue to hate. What's to like about a girl who only believes in her opinions? What's to like about a girl who will go to harmful lengths to prove her point? When I first started reading Emma, I had a hard time liking this girl. With her nose in the air, I didn't think I could see anything beyond my overwhelming irritation. Towards the middle of the book Emma started to change, slightly, and so did my opinion of her.
I don't think Austen wrote a character readers were supposed to fall in love with. Emma certainly doesn't warrant a lot of sympathy, yet she does have endearing traits. She's determined, never lazy in her ways, and caring of those she loves. She goes to extreme measures to get what she wants; and at times hurts others around her. However, I don't think she did anything with the intentions of hurting people. She's not cruel (all the time) to people, she's just very misguided. Spoiled and with determined opinions, Emma's greatest fault is not knowing when to give up and let things be.
Emma learns a few things along the road, with the help of the other characters, and does change her ways. a little, but is it too late? Emma, in the end, is a character that grated on my nerves, yet I could find pieces of myself in her. Let's face it. None of us our perfect, so to cast all the stones at this girl would be all for naught. Austen's biggest lesson is finding the flaws within ourselves (like with Emma) and learning to tone it down.
She may not be the most loved book character, but Emma is definitely a character that everyone can learn a thing or two from.
I never have been in love;
it is not my way, or my nature;
and I do not think I ever shall.
Emma Woodhouse is certain of one thing: that she’s an excellent matchmaker . . . even though she’s never been in love. Emma dives into the game of finding an admirer for her newest project, Harriet Smith. But Emma quickly realizes she’s in over her head and that she might lose everything if she keeps playing. Beautifully presented for a modern teen audience, this is the must-have edition of Jane Austen’s timeless romantic satire.