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Analysis Of Jane Austen´S Emma

1463 words - 6 pages

towards those who are in interesting situations, that a young person, who either marries or dies, I sure of being kindly spoken of” (Austen, Emma 164).
The theme of social status and society is prevalent in the novel of Emma, through the characters Emma, Mr. Knightley, Mr. Churchill, and their situations and perspectives on life. Austen describes Emma as, “handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition, seemed to unite some of the best blessings of existence; and had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her” makes her outlook disparate from characters such as Harriet (Austen, Emma 3). Immediately through her description, Austen indicates Emma’s haughty perspective on society through her referencing her friends as “first set” and “second set.” Through Emma’s classification of her friends by their social status and importance, first set being the superior and second set being the inferior and locum, the reader is able to have a glimpse of Emma’s outlook on society and it’s classes. (Knowledge Notes). Emma once again portrays the theme of social status and society through her views of people in lower classes than she such as Harriet and Mr. Martin. After Emma meets Harriet for the first time, she immediately decides that Harriet’s “soft blue eyes, and all those natural graces, should not be wasted on the inferior society of Highbury, and its connections” (Austen, Emma 20). Because of the social class difference between her and Mr. Martin, Emma regards him as someone who is inferior and advises Harriet to refuse his proposal. She claims that though “his appearance was very neat, and he looked like a sensible young man, but his person had no other advantage; and when he came to be contrasted with a gentleman, she thought he must lose all the ground…” (Austen, Emma 27) and that Harriet deserves someone more advantageous for she is now acquaintances with Emma and people of higher social status. Emma regrets that Mr. Martin and his family are not of higher social class and that she would have “endured a great deal, to have had the Martins in a higher rank of life. They were so deserving that a little would have been enough” (Austen, Emma 170), yet she proves to be hypocritical for Emma is reluctant to associate herself and says that “they must be separated” (Austen, Emma 170) or let Harriet marry someone of the lower class. Although Emma believes that Mr. Elton is a gentleman and an acceptable suitor for Harriet due to his wealth and social status, yet she does not believe that he is worthy enough for herself. Emma’s perspective reveals her inequitable attitude towards other social classes because she believes that Mr. Elton is suitable for Harriet since she is socially beneath Emma but he is unsuitable for her and insists “how very much he was her inferior in talent, and all the elegancies of mind…in fortune and consequences she was greatly his superior” (Austen, Emma 122). Once more...

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