This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Approaches To Reading Text With Examples From Jane Austen's Emma

3589 words - 14 pages

This paper presents the two of the four main reading approaches to
reading a text. In this paper, Jane Austen’s novel Emma will be used
to demonstrate these approaches; providing a detailed description into
both reading practice, including reader-centred and author-centred. As
it is now widely acknowledged that no text is neutral, these practices
are one way of conceptualising changes in the theories and practices
of literary study that have occurred during the twentieth century.
Each approach is characterised by particular assumptions and values
and therefore places greater or lesser emphasis on the interactions
that occur between both the author and the reader as we read. To
justify these approaches, I have also used defenses.

Reader-Centred Approach

Since its release in the early years of the nineteenth century, the
novel Emma has never ceased to impress and intrigue. While being
criticised for its lack of action and development, the novel, I found,
provides the reader with a remarkably accurate and surprisingly
hilarious portrayal of life in the upper middle class during the
Victorian period. With the ability to one minute have me ready to pull
out my hair and the next be in hysterics as Jane Austen repeatedly
pokes fun at the characters and their unanticipated antics and
imperfections, this book is a work of art. Events are miscalculated,
actions are misinterpreted and emotions are toiled with, but as with
many of Jane’s novels, a neatly tied (even teary) ending is produced
and all that should live happily ever after do. In the end, what I had
presumed to be both dull and strenuous turned out quite the opposite,
and my immense appreciation for the novel, as you will no-doubt
discover, clearly demonstrate this.

After reluctantly sitting through the movie Pride and Prejudice, my
preconceptions of Jane Austen’s work, as I gazed down at page one of
Emma, were of an exceptionally low standard. By the final page
however, my liking of the story had dramatically improved.

It is said that in order to enjoy Emma, one must descend deeper into
the story, beyond what I saw as petty nonsense. As Reginald Ferrar
(Website 1) displays, ”until you know the story, you are apt to find
the movement dense, slow and obscure, difficult to follow, and not
very obviously worth the following.” On the surface, Emma basically
consists of scheming, gossip and trivial, over exaggerated quarreling.
In hindsight, I now see the genius of it all. After a more thorough
examination of the text, I realised that Jane Austen is actually
making fun of the characters and their day-to-day experiences and
habits. In collaboration with a most impressive array of characters,
the story is undoubtedly one of a kind, as so many readers have
already discovered.

Having long been praised for its thorough and extraordinary portrayal
of characters in the novel, the comical yet insightful emphasis that
is placed upon each individual...

Find Another Essay On Approaches to Reading Text with Examples from Jane Austen's Emma

Views of Marriage in Jane Austen's Emma

857 words - 3 pages Views of Marriage in Jane Austen's Emma The dominant theme that constantly runs through this novel is that of marriage. All of the important activities of the novel are focused around various attempts from Emma, to arrange them, prevent them, or hinder them; this idea is empathized in both chapter 1, where Emma replies in discussion to Miss Taylor's marriage "I made up my mind on the subject. I planned the match from that hour", and in

Jane Austen's Emma - Rebel or Conformist?

1757 words - 7 pages and the guests are forced to leave early. Inconveniently, Emma finds herself alone in the carriage with Mr. Elton , who professes his love for Emma. Much taken aback by this confession, she rebukes him for not caring about Harriet and denies his feelings. They continue the ride in silence and soon after, Mr. Elton leaves for a stay in Bath and Emma is forced to tell Harriet the heart breaking news. Jane Fairfax, a girl of Emma's age, comes

Societal Authority in Jane Austen's Emma

2049 words - 8 pages However much we insist it is not true, our choices, actions, and thoughts are rarely uninfluenced by the conditions we are born into. Our culture and society play a huge role in the person we become, shaping our opinions and worldviews from birth. This truth is illustrated no better than in Jane Austen’s Emma. In Emma, Austen uses narrative style, characterization, and the plot device of word games to illustrate the ever-present power of

Character Analysis of Emma in Jane Austen's "Emma"

1134 words - 5 pages `Emma' was written by Jane Austen in 1816. In all her novels, she is primarily a moral writer, striving to establish criteria of sound judgement and right conduct in human life. In Emma she presents her lesson so astutely and so dramatically, with such a minimum of exposition, that she places extreme demands upon the reader's perceptiveness. Emma was her fourth novel. Lord David Cecil described it as `Jane Austen's profoundest comedy'. It

The Flawed Character of Emma Woodhouse in Jane Austen's Emma

2159 words - 9 pages The Flawed Character of Emma Woodhouse      In Emma Woodhouse, Jane Austen has created a wonderfully flawed heroine. Had Emma been perfect, her situation would have been of no interest to anyone; her flaws are what interest both reader and critic. Peter W. Graham is interested particularly with the first page of the novel where Emma is first introduced to the reader. He discusses how significant the beginning of the novel is to mapping

Jane Austen's Approach to the Character Emma in Pride and Prejudice

2444 words - 10 pages from admiring Jane's elegance in the way she does Harriet's. Mrs Elton and Emma are similar in some ways; both women are vain largely due to their wealth and also share a desire to dominate and meddle as shown by Mrs Elton concern with Jane's future. Emma wants to dominate all situations so by not being passive Jane and Mrs Elton are seen as threats to her. They assist Emma's journey by forcing her to improve herself, for

Essay on Mr.Woodhouse and Miss Bates in Jane Austen's Emma

1679 words - 7 pages Miss Bates might seem more like caricatures than characters, but through their presence we gain perspective on Emma's progression to adulthood. They are also two well-rounded and interesting people, not the simple one-dimensional beings that Scott seems to see. Bibliography Berendsen, Marjet. Reading character in Jane Austen's Emma. Assen, Netherlands: Van Gorcum, 1991. Birtwistle, Sue, and Susie Conklin. The making of Jane Austen's

Genteel People and Honest Hearts in Jane Austen's Emma

1603 words - 6 pages satisfactorily in lower society. Frank Churchill’s ‘flirting’ with Emma could be seen to be an indication of his diminished gentility, but his long letter of explanation and apology in Chapter 50 excuses him for his lapse of feelings. It can thus be seen from these characters that Austen seldom deals with people that are not gentility. Indeed the only real characters that do not hold such a position are Robert Martin and the gypsies, both of

Lizzy or Emma - A Critique of Jane Austen's Heroines

2294 words - 9 pages . Forster figure praising Austen for her sheer intellectual and a humoristic take on society’s follies. Ronald Blythe in his preface to Emma (ed. 1966, Penguin Classics) writes that “Jane Austen can get more drama out of morality than most writers can get from shipwrecks, battle, murder or mayhem - there is balance, there is a serenity which leaves contentment at the core of the heart similar to that perfect rightness”. He aptly describes that

A character list of the major characters in jane austen's "emma" (emma woodhouse, mr. woodhouse, george knightley, harriet smith), supported with quotes

1530 words - 6 pages declaration "that she will never marry, which, of course, means just nothing at all" (Austen 25) or that Jane Fairfax has been secretly engaged to Frank Churchill and that "there are misunderstanding between them" (Austen 268). Not only because of his notion about Frank Churchill's engagement, but also because he has been deeply in love with Emma for years and years, he strongly dislikes Frank Churchill. He, however, hides his jealousy behind

Critical Reading of Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice"

2309 words - 9 pages winter. This severely distresses the Bennet family who in general had anticipated a marriage between Jane and Mr. Bingley. No one is more disappointed than Jane herself, who anticipated the same; it is determined that the choice to leave Netherfield was orchestrated by Miss Bingley, hoping to introduce Mr. Bingley to Georgiana Darcy.Volume two begins with a visit to Longbourn from Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner, the Bennet daughter's aunt and uncle. Trusting

Similar Essays

Jane Austen's Emma Essay

1952 words - 8 pages Harriet is in many ways paralleled in that of Mrs. Elton and Jane Fairfax, who, like Harriet, has no roots to claim, and is viewed by Mrs. Elton as being in great need of a superior lady to guide her. Of Jane’s situation, Mrs. Elton says to Emma, “We must bring her forward.... One can see that she feels the want of encouragement…. I am a great advocate for timidity – and I am sure one does not often meet with it. – But in those who are at all

Jane Austen's Emma Essay

1880 words - 8 pages Chantal Fauconier This essay shall explore Jane Austen’s novel, Emma. Jane Austen’s writings were greatly influenced by the society she came from. She grew up in the Victorian era whereby the status of women was very limited. Women could not vote, they received inferior education to their male counterparts and were limited to domestic occupations (Williams in Marshall & Williams 2002:5). This is the context in which Emma was written

An Essay Analysing The Transformation Of Ideas And Context From The Original Text Jane Austen's Emma To The Appropriated Text Amy Heckerlings Clueless To Suit A Modern Day Audience

2943 words - 12 pages updated agendas. As a novel of manners, Emma creates a space between competing ideological extremes of the late eighteenth century. During this period of traditional "aristocratic ideology," based on the hierarchy of social birthright, began to clash with a "progressive ideology" emerging from burgeoning notions of individualism and capitalism. Emma exists as a text enmeshed in this debate and presents a tenuous equilibrium upholding social

Comparing The Text And The Two Filmed Versions Of Jane Austen's Emma

2399 words - 10 pages Comparing the Text and the Two Filmed Versions of Jane Austen's Emma   After reading Jane Austen's Emma, then viewing the BBC production and Miramax films based on the novel one can understand why most authors are horrified over the translation of their novels into film.  The two film versions are quite different from one another, but both take such liberties with the original text as to wonder why the film makers of each even bothered with