• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Discuss Jane Austen's portrayal of her central character in the opening chapters of the novel in terms of her social class, status and interaction with other main characters.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

February 2005 Discuss Jane Austen's portrayal of her central character in the opening chapters of the novel in terms of her social class, status and interaction with other main characters. How far is this an accurate reflection of the social interaction of the period in your view? Emma by Jane Austen can be described as a social satire of the Regency Age and was first published in 1816. Austen uses the omniscient narrator to immediately introduce the central character, eponymous heroine Emma Woodhouse, in the opening chapter of the novel by describing her as "handsome, clever and rich with a comfortable home and a happy disposition," and saying how she "seemed to unite some of the best blessings of existence," with very "little to distress or vex her." However, Austen's use of the word "seemed" may indicate that the reality of Emma's perfect and privileged life may affect her interaction with others and consequently cause her to have many flaws due to the fact that she is good looking, indulged and allowed "rather too much her own way." ...read more.

Middle

Mr Knightley guides and advises Emma with well-balanced thoughts and advice that genuinely penetrates through her self-deluding personality. Mr Knightley states realistically that Emma is wrong to meddle with Harriet and encourage her to pursue Mr Elton; he describes Harriet as "not a sensible girl," with "no respectable relations" illustrating the importance of marrying within the right social class and also a weakness in the character of Emma Woodhouse due to the fact that she manipulates situations to suit what she wants and can sometimes avoid reality if it does not agree with her. This weakness can go on to affect and hurt others, for example raising Harriet's hopes and expectations of marrying above her even though this is unlikely to happen. Another character who is responsible for Emma's behaviour is her father, Mr Woodhouse. Mr Woodhouse is at fault due to the fact that he is an over "indulgent and affectionate" father who fails to see weaknesses in his youngest daughter's character, therefore being unable to correct her mistakes and teach Emma how to consider other people's feelings. ...read more.

Conclusion

Although Emma is described as a "spoiled child" by John Knightley, Austen also illustrates how self-contained her life is on Isabella's visit. Emma urges them not to "talk of the sea" because it makes her "miserable" and "envious" as "she has never seen it." Emma's life seems circled around little more than painting and playing the piano and this may be why she feels the need to meddle with other people's relationships for her own amusement. Overall, Austen introduces many themes and social rules and regulations along with the introduction of Emma Woodhouse. Emma seems to be a very lucky and privileged individual although she does not always make the best of her advantageous situation causing her to have an arrogant and self-righteous side to her personality. Emma's situation is not normal and her fortune sets her aside from other women as she does not need to marry for the sake of financial gain and security, this sets her aside from being an accurate reflection of social interaction of the times. However, Emma's conformity when it comes to social class rules and etiquette illustrates the class conscious society of Regency England and the importance of propriety. Harriet Nash L6MF ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Jane Austen section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Jane Austen essays

  1. How does Jane Austen present the themes of love and marriage in the novel ...

    At no point is love mentioned. It is remarkable how Emma decides that Frank Churchill would be a suitable husband for her without even meeting him. She knows only his age, his status, and his familial connections. Other information does not bother her. So yet again here we get a few fundamentals of what Jane Austen sees as what a marriage consists of.

  2. Explore the presentations of Keith's mother. How important is she to the novel Spies ...

    Mrs Hayward also seems desperate by the way Frayn wrote, "Keith's mother gives a terrible, shuddering sob. Then another and another." Mrs Hayward is obviously crying here which shows she is feeling very upset over the current situation. The way Frayn uses the words "another and another" is a short

  1. "Emma is a novel about youth through self-knowledge." Discuss.

    As a direct result of Emma's meddlesome approach and lack of self-knowledge, she misinterprets various clues presented my Mr Elton. Austen conveys this through the use of situational irony to create humour through ambiguity. Emma's confidence in her matchmaking abilities creates a delusion within, blinding her from correctly interpreting the signals and indications Mr Elton gives.

  2. Jane Austen (1775 -1817) Emma (1816) Jane Austen wrote of 'Emma'; "I am going ...

    And we forget, she has never been in love. She believes she is in love with Frank Churchill and tries to convince herself that " she must be a little in love with him."

  1. An exploration of Jane Austen's use of the outdoors in Emma

    What I consider the turning point of the book takes place at a picnic at Box Hill, when Emma insults her lifelong friend Miss Bates.

  2. Jane Austen said of Emma 'she is a character who no-one but myself will ...

    The readers make their judgment of the characters from what they have been shown or given hints to by the author and from this we get the idea that both Jane Fairfax and Mrs. Elton seem like (2) exaggerated characters of Emma's personality.

  1. The society of Jane Austen's time and period, being early nineteenth century rural England, ...

    with the full command of her fortune," although as Mr Weston was a tradesman the inequality of the relationship caused hardship to both "It was an unsuitable connection, and did not produce much happiness," However, on Mr Weston's second marriage, just prior to the novel's beginning, it is much happier

  2. The various portrayals of heroines in Jane Austen's novels as well as investigate, who ...

    Emma is a likeable character as she presents the opposite to the puritan ideal. She is quite unlike Fanny Price the heroine that preceded Emma. She has vigour and energy and the reader her admires her cheeky independence, for instance she is not afraid of defying Mr Knightley.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work