Reading review 《Emma》 | Teen Ink

Reading review 《Emma》

April 18, 2021
By strikerzhao BRONZE, Ningbo, Other
strikerzhao BRONZE, Ningbo, Other
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

At the beginning of my reading, I thought Emma, who was beautiful and intelligent, had a good family education and was born into aristocracy, would have more experience and emotional insights than others, but the opposite was true. This book does not present a positive image of those who live in the seemingly stable and peaceful English upper class. The author puts much effort into shaping the negative characteristics of Emma, such as dominance, conceit and cruelty, which creates tension and contrasts her with nicer characters. It also undermines popular views of the social phenomenon of British high society and prompts readers to develop some strong opinions about it.


Emma character setting


1. it is a beautiful, knowledgeable, self-sufficient, rich and enthusiastic girl who is presented to the reader. However, the author gradually deepens the work, and the reader comes to find that she is actually very self-indulgent, childish and arrogant in judging the world, and unwilling to accept fault or admit inadequate knowledge after interfering with other people’s lives and causing emotional distress. Despite these imperfect characterizations, Emma is shaped into a favorite image of readers. It is her gradual process of maturing that results in beauty of the end of the novel. Undoubtedly, this is an ideal of the author. She has drawn a perfect end to Emma's life after the story went in other directions at times. All of these are reflections of the author’s views about the irony of English high society.


2. As a female, the author of this book (Jane Austen) shows a good understanding of her background in her work. Her own experience is similar to that of the protagonist. Therefore, absorbing the setting is placing a kind of trust in the author to get it right. Austen cuts into the whole novel from a female perspective, which results in different types of conflicts throughout. In such a patriarchal society, she shows how disrespect of women is a wider social tendency. By showing proper respect to women, we should recognize social ideals, ensure hope that women will always be treated as equals, and not hesitate to criticize unequal treatment if we see it.


Twists and turns of the plot


As I said before, the content and plot of this novel are not limited to the life of the British upper class. The novel mainly revolves around Emma. Her first emotional interference with others began with her attempts to find a suitable partner for her kind classmate, Harriet. Guided by Emma, Harriet tried to force love with the church vicar, Mr. Elton, and refused a marriage proposal from Robert Martin, even though Harriet would have liked to marry him. However, Mr. Elton's misguided influence destroyed her spirit and her marriage plans failed. The situation also provoked the discontent of old family friend George Knightley. Harriet herself was not interested in Mr. Elton, nor was she interested in Frank, the son of Mr. Weston's deceased first wife, although Emma thought she was. Emma herself was attracted to Frank at one point. Frank and Jane Fairfax eventually announced their marriage. All of these developments were things Emma had never expected, and nothing was as simple as she had thought. Even Harriet and Robert ended up as a married couple, despite Emma’s early attempts to stop this from happening.


When it was her turn to become romantically attached, it turned out that Harriet was infatuated with the man who really loved Emma. All along, this man, George Knightley, had observed Emma’s meddling and had reprimanded her for it. After all these twists and turns, both George and Emma finally expressed their love for each other. The end of the novel is indeed a good thing, but many of Emma’s positive character developments are unexpected, and it is her maturity that turns everything around.


This book is actually presented as an irony, which I didn't notice at the beginning, although I gradually became aware of this. This is a process of growth. I think the social commentary expressed by the author is that the problems in society should not cause fear, and growth is the only way to make up for all of the trouble.

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