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

How does Emma's management of Harriet's affairs reveal the important issues in Jane Austen's 'Emma'

Extracts from this document...


Francesca White 12C How does Emma's management of Harriet's affairs reveal the important issues in Jane Austen's 'Emma' In this novel, Jane Austen uses the relationship between Emma and Harriet to highlight the important issues. She uses Emma's management of Harriet to do this. She creates contrast between Emma and Harriet; she portrays Emma as beautiful and intelligent though we can still see faults in her personality. The main fault is her desire to control people and match-make them. This also raises issues, including the position of women and Emma's social status, marriage and comedy which is shown through irony, especially in the relationship between Emma and Harriet. The first thing we read is 'Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever and rich'. By beginning the novel with this quote, we can see the qualities considered important at that time and how Emma has a high social status. When we first hear of Harriet, we can see a contrast between the two characters. 'Harriet was the natural daughter of somebody. Somebody had placed her several years back at Mrs Goddard's school.' We see that Harriet is an orphan which automatically contrasts with Emma's strong family history. ...read more.


A single woman, with a very narrow income, must b a ridiculous, disagreeable, old maid! The proper sport of boys and girls; but a single woman, of good fortune, is always respectable, and may be as sensible and pleasant as anybody else. And the distinction is not quite so much against the candour and common sense of the world as appears at first.' Here Austen is saying how stereotypical society was at that time, she is raising what she feels were the key issues of her time. Emma controls Harriet so much that she is sometimes unable to voice her own opinions. One example of this is when Harriet is writing to Mr Martin to reply to his marriage proposal, Emma more or less writes the letter for her. Harriet is loyal to Emma and looks up to her thinking she knows everything, therefore does as she says. The friendship is based on how Emma controls Harriet. There are many quotes in the novel that show Harriet's reliance on Emma and how she can't make decisions without Emma's approval, one example is this - 'But she was not wanted to speak. It was enough for her to feel. ...read more.


From the start of the book Emma has a view that she will not be married, yet we know that in the end this happens. One quote that would satisfy this issue is 'Oh! Harriet may pick and choose. Were you, yourself, ever to marry, she is the very woman for you.' This is a ridiculous thing for Emma to say to Mr Knightly, for a number of reasons. The first reason is that Harriet has no right to pick and choose who she marries at all - her position in society is not high enough. Also, Mr Knightly is of a higher class than even the Woodhouse's, therefore she Harriet is in no position whatsoever to marry him. This quote also creates humour through irony as the reader knows that Emma will end up marrying him. Austen portrays the character of Emma to be a matchmaker and a poor judge of situations and people. As the novel goes on we see, through her self realisation, who she really is. Through doing this Austen puts across her issues and issues/ morals. These are; Emma's/Austen's views on marriage and the position of women in the 1800's, and the way Austen uses irony creates humour through how na�ve Emma is when trying to control Harriet's affairs. ...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. An exploration of Jane Austen's use of the outdoors in Emma

    based on longstanding affection, and formed in the peaceful countryside, whereas Jane Fairfax and Frank Churchill fall passionately in love at the seaside, in Weymouth, which I shall argue has morally dubious connotations. Emma's final decision in regard to Mr Knightley is a logical, comfortable one.

  2. Morals and Manners in Jane Austen

    Darcy may not have been pleased by his introduction. For these characters and certain others, their manners and morals are given equal importance in describing the character to the reader. Indeed, Tthe fact that bad manners often belong to dislikeable people is shown in Persuasion by the description given of "good company [which] requires only birth, education and manners".

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

    She writes a letter to Robert Martin refusing his proposal. Chapter eight is about Mr knightly's rage of anger with Emma because of Harriet's refusal to Robert Martin's proposal which he thinks is all down to Emma's doing. Because Harriet is an illegitimate child unsure of which family she belongs

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

    With this attitude in today's society because woman now have a near equal status, the idea wouldn't be welcomed and maybe frowned upon by us. Also both partners are expected to have some money and had an education.

  1. Argue that the theory of common sense structures provides an important and hitherto unappreciated ...

    K�hler, Lipmann, Bogen Wolfgang K�hler was influenced both directly and indirectly by Mach,(3) and it is in fact in the correspondence of K�hler that there appears what is perhaps the first occurrence of the term `naive physics'.(4) In his The Mentality of the Apes, a work whose original German text

  2. The Character of Emma in Jane Austen's Emma: How she has a "mind delighted ...

    is not aware of even her own emotions and intentions (for example she does not realise that she loves Mr. Knightley until Harriet starts showing feelings towards him), so how can she be aware of the intentions of others? One instance of Emma's misconception is her belief that she can

  1. How does this evocation fit with your reading of the relationship between Emma and ...

    something which her home required' but in reality it is not what her home requires due to the lack of noise, but what Emma wants. Jane Austen cleverly takes the reader into Emma's thoughts. 'Emma was obliged to fancy what she liked' she is a selfish person who has never really had any discipline from her governess.

  2. Examine Jane Austen's presentation of Mrs Elton and Emma in chapter forty two and ...

    Mr Knightley's party even though he has told her many times he doesn't need her help "I will invite your guests. No he calmly replied". Chapter forty three takes place at Box Hill, this party shows a clear contrast to the Donwell Abbey party as is very superficial due to

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