Writers Often Use Humour To Make Moral Judgments. Compare/ Contrast In Emma And Pride And Prejudice

1822 words - 7 pages

Humour is an evident factor linking Emma and Pride and Prejudice. Austen's humour is subtle but often involves the harsh ridicule of her more comic characters that are satirised because of their absurd notions and behavior. Although this is often the case, there exists another type of humour in Austen's novels. This is provided with a much more gentle tone. For example, characters like Mr. Woodhouse in Emma, is never held up to ridicule harshly, like Lady de Burgh, who is, deservedly. The humour Austen uses, on many occasions, is to make moral judgments on those with social importance and meaning. Those characters, like Lady Catherine and Mrs. Elton, who think too well of themselves are held up for the reader to laugh at. Even Austen's central character, Emma, heads for a fall, which she deserving of after her 'evils of having rather too much her own way'.From the beginning of Emma, we are introduced to Mr. Woodhouse, 'a valetudinarian' fearful and preoccupied with health, he is a man of little sense and intelligence. Although he seems rather a selfish character, 'never able to suppose that other people could feel differently from himself' (chapter 1), it is not hurtful. If he were a cruel man, he would undoubtedly receive less sympathetic treatment; as he is not, Austen uses the character for gentle comedy and fun. One particularly comical event in the novel, is the plan for the journey home in the snow, from the Westerns'."This will prove a spirited beginning of your winter engagements...something new for your coachmen and horses to be making their way through a storm of snow." Poor Mr. Woodhouse was silent from consternation...Mrs. Weston and Emma tried earnestly to cheer him and turn his attention from his son-in-law, who was pursuing his triumph rather unfeelingly. "I admired your resolution very much sir...in venturing out in such weather...another hour or two's snow can hardly make the road impassable...'Not only does the passage offer a hilarious interlude, particularly comical actions on Mr. Woodhouse's part, but also the significance of the snow highlights the different lives that people lead and their priorities. For Isabella, the snow proposes just as big a stress for that of her father, just the thought of her unable to return home to her children that night is enough to send her worrying like her father. It is interesting that the problems which the snow causes for these characters, which do not seem crucial, is what they are caught up in and what their lives evolve around. This could well be a comment on the society, that the preoccupations of these people, to anybody else outside their world, are quite unimportant and trivial.Like Emma, in Pride and Prejudice we are introduced to the comical parents right from the beginning, Mr. and Mrs. Bennet. Mr. Bennet is less a comical figure, although his sarcasm is humorous, he derives comedy from his family, mocking their ill wit and lack of intelligence. It is Mrs. Bennet who is the more...

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