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Discuss the function of setting in the presentation of Jane Austen's main concerns in Emma.

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In the discussions of fiction, the term 'setting' may refer to descriptions of localities, landscapes and interiors. It may, however, refer to period as well as place, and to social convention. Setting may express (directly or indirectly) the main concerns of a work of fiction. Discuss the function of setting in the presentation of Jane Austen's main concerns in Emma In Jane Austen's novel Emma, the function of setting is to demonstrate life as it would be in Highbury around the same time as Austen was writing the book (around 1815). The setting mostly refers to the period the is set in story as well as the place, which of course also bears much relevance. However, Jane Austen's main concern in the book was to convey social convention, an aspect of life which would have a major affect on the characters in the story as it did Jane herself, in context to the period it is set. Also the themes of marriage and wealth also tie in with social status in the book as it would be of importance in the early 18th century that it is set in. The character that to help all these themes together as well as Emma herself is Harriet. ...read more.


Harriet also marries Mr Martin who after all turns out to be the right match for her. Though it would seem the message from the writer is that one should marry within ones own status, it is interesting to acknowledge the marriage at the beginning of the book. Miss Taylor, Emma's nanny therefore middle class, marries Mr Weston, of upper class, and there seems to be no evidence of criticism from the writer or characters of their marriage. In fact there are so many occasions in the book where the couple are described well together and perfectly married it seems they are almost a role model to other married couples at the time. However though there is a happy ending, Jane Austen uses Emma, with her mischief and interfering nature to demonstrate the importance of social class and equal marriage within society at the time. As she takes Harriet and manipulates her feelings towards Mr Elton, the occurrences only reveal the nature of class to us. When Mr Elton realises Harriet has affection for him he is disgusted at the thought of it, even wise Mr Knightly comments on Mr Elton's views as Mr Elton said he would marry richly. This is revealed even further when he turns his attentions on Emma, the richest female in the story. ...read more.


The central action to the story is conversation, the lack of action means that to keep the reader entertained Jane Austen had create something else to keep the readers interest. Through such detailed language and description we receive such vivid characters and receive a lot information from their speech and others speech about them. This also ties in with the period as presentation of a person would be very important and so what you say was also important, this is reproduced in Emma, as everything each character says reveals something about them. Also by setting the story in a remote rural area there can be more attention to new characters that enter the life of Emma. The conversation and excitement created by the awaited arrival of Frank Churchill creates a lot of excitement between characters in the book as it is not often visitors would come. Importance is added on this figure as he is a bachelor of Emma's age and so expectations of the reader and other characters are raised. Therefore in the setting of Emma, Jane Austen's main concern with period was to show the social convention of the time, the way it affected marriage and also the importance of marriage in the context of the story. Jane uses Emma and Emma's treatement and views of other characters to show the three main themes of money, status, and marriage within the 18th century period it was set. ...read more.

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