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Though Emma(TM)s faults are comic, they constantly threaten to produce serious harm Discuss the blend of seriousness and show how Jane Austen contrives to retain a prevailing comic mood

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"Though Emma's faults are comic, they constantly threaten to produce serious harm" - Wayne Boothe Discuss the blend of seriousness and show how Jane Austen contrives to retain a prevailing comic mood "Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and 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." Emma, the main character of the book, is the most important woman in Highbury, and so the consequences of her actions are greater. This makes it difficult for Austen to retain the comic mood, because whenever Emma makes a mistake, a dire outcome is always the result. Critic Mark Schorer described Emma as "a heroine who must be educated out of a condition of self-deception brought on by the shutters of pride into a condition of perception when that pride had been humbled through the exposures of the errors of judgement into which it has led her." This is a good description of the character of Emma, because in order to retain a prevailing comic mood, Austen has to mature Emma in order for her to have a happy ending. When we first meet Emma, there is no possible way that Emma is marriage material, nor is she worthy of Mr Knightley or vice versa. ...read more.


The danger, however, was at present so unperceived, that they did not by any means rank as misfortune with her." The above quotation, which is found at the beginning of the novel, helps to foreshadow the possible problems that could occur. It recognises that Emma's reluctance to admit that she is wrong is a major fault which threatens to upset the happiness of others later on and eventually Emma learns this too. Austen however manages to keep the comic mood by putting hope into the quote. She doesn't say that Emma can't change, and by not saying that her actions will definitely cause problems, only that there is a danger, gives hope to the reader that Emma can see the error of her ways and become a better person. Also, later on Mrs Elton becomes almost an exact replica of Emma's previous mistakes but much more exaggerated. Emma resents Mrs Elton's presumptuous attempts at matchmaking, despite Mrs Elton's actions towards Jane being very similar to Emma's behaviour towards Harriet Another major fault of Emma's is her treatment of Miss Bates whilst at Box Hill. Although Austen generally depicts cleverness as a quality in characters, the Box Hill scene shows how cleverness can be used in a hurtful way. ...read more.


Her father is a boring hypochondriac yet Emma never loses her temper with her. She's even willing to postpone her wedding to make him happy. Throughout the novel she makes special arrangements for his comforts and puts up with his endless conversations about gruel, yet never once does she complain. In conclusion there are three main ways in which Austen retains a prevailing comic mood. The first way in which she does this is showing Emma's growth of maturity. After each of her main mistakes, Emma realises what she has done wrong and tries to redeem herself. By doing this, Austen is showing that Emma isn't all bad, and in fact is trying to make herself a better person. Emma's maturing earns her the right to marry Knightley. At the beginning of the novel, she didn't really realise what she was doing wrong and ignored some of Knightley's criticisms, but by the end she has grown into a better person. Jane Austen believed in properly matched marriages which came from both parties growing towards deserving one another which is clearly shown in her disapproval of Mr and Mrs Elton's hasty marriage. Also, if Emma and Mr Knightley deserved each other at the beginning of the novel and Harriet married Mr Martin, then there would be no plot to the novel. Austen ends the book with a comic mood with the marriage of Emma and Mr Knightley ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

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