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The Importance of Class in Emma

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The Importance of Class Jane Austen's Emma is about a young woman who goes through many problems to find herself, love, and happiness. Emma is an extremely wealthy person. In this novel class becomes increasingly important as it progresses. It becomes so important because Emma tries to promote Harriet to her own social level, Emma is rich enough to financially support herself without men, she does not allow Harriet to accept Robert Martin's wedding proposal, Mr. Elton marries Augusta Hawkins who has 10,000 pounds, and he does not believe that Harriet is worthy enough to marry him. The first example that illustrates the importance of class is shown through the way Emma attempts to promote Harriet to her own social level. She takes on Harriet as a project. She would notice her; she would improve her; she would detach her from her bad acquaintance and introduce her into good society; she would form her opinions and her manners (Austen 42). ...read more.


The Woodhouses are some of the oldest and most admirable people in Highbury. Just the act of meeting Emma is exciting to others, due to her social standing. Miss Woodhouse was so great a personage in Highbury that the prospect of the introduction had given as much panic as pleasure (Austen 43). So due to Emma's wealth and financial security without the need for marriage, she does not need to rely on men to further her social life. Another example of the increasing importance of class is the discouragement of Harriet's consideration of Robert Martin's proposal. Emma discourages her in a way to make it appear that she is not attempting to impact on the decision. She questions her many perplexing insinuations. 'Mr. Martin, I suppose, is not a man of information beyond the line of the business. He does not read (Austen 46)?' She also causes Harriet to admit that he is not at all a handsome man. ...read more.


Elton. The most imperfect person for him is Harriet. Mr. Elton believes that Harriet is unworthy of him. He states that she is way beneath him and Emma persistently encourages him. 'Miss Smith! Message to Miss Smith! What could she possibly mean (Austen 128)!' He totally rejects her because of her social rank and never has had intimate thoughts of her. 'What can be the meaning of this? Miss Smith! I never thought of Miss Smith in the whole course of my existence; never paid her any attentions but as your friend, never cared whether she were dead or alive but as your friend (Austen 129).' He claims his love for Emma. She is so rich and Harriet is so poor. This clearly shows the importance of upper and lower class relationships. Classes of society progressively become important in the scenes and setting of Em. This is proven by the attempt to promote Harriet to a higher class, Emma's financially stable, single status, the rejection of Robert Martin's proposal to Harriet by Emma, Mr. Elton's marriage to Augusta Hawkins, and his rejection towards Harriet. ...read more.

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