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Family relationships It is debatable whether family relationships are central to the novel 'Emma' and are indeed the foundations on which Highbury is built. Families may be viewed as objects of satire, as those featured are a source of financial rather than emotional support. Throughout the novel, status is built upon class position, material possession and finance, its characters eager to display such 'qualities'. This essay shall demonstrate the emphasis placed upon wealth and social status, identify and interpret corresponding family units, as well as explore the use of match-making and marital agreements. The large proportion of families, contradict the perception that family relationships are the core of the novel and the foundations of Highbury life. For, families featured are predominantly broken or incomplete. The Woodhouses' are one of the more prominent examples of rich yet emotionally lacking families in Highbury. For, the relationship between Emma and her father involves constant humouring on Emma's part. Mr Woodhouse is an example of Austen's use of exaggerated and satirical humour in order to emphasise the inadequacies of many families and individual members. ...read more.


Frank had never visited his father in his home and it is heavily suggested that Frank's later residence is only because of the convenient location of his lover, Jane Fairfax, who is also situated in Highbury. The evident weakness of family relationships within the discussed families can be used in contrast to some others, although the minority. The Bates' for example, on the one hand struggle to regain their previous superior social status in Highbury. However on the other hand, demonstrate the close family unit that many financially superior family's lack. For, the relationship between mother and daughter is clearly of great importance and the family have great admiration for their niece, bought up in caring, close, even though adoptive circumstances. The use of contrast between families in different financial situations is an example of Austen's ridicule of the upper class. For, although they possess the common love of material possessions and money, they do not share the same intensity for love or their family relationships. ...read more.


The character of Mrs Elton satirically emphasises common marital choices of the time. For, presented as a highly outrageous, irritating and disliked character, she marries Mr Elton nevertheless. Having made his preferred choice apparent, Mr Elton's genuine affections for Emma are replaced by the choice to marry Augusta Suckling purely for financial motives. Austen therefore suggests that many choices were made even though husband and wife did not even respect each other and indicate the impact of money in society. Although socially appropriate marriages, according to status are still apparent by the end of the novel, some superficiality associated with characters ceases to continue. In particular, Emma with regards to initial match-making schemes and the initial narrow minded views that she possesses. Emma and Mr Knightly, Harriet with Mr Martin and Jane with Frank Churchill contradict the frequent number of marriages based upon the wrong reasons in the 18th century. There is hope therefore; that the new families created would have valued the importance of family relationships to therefore change the foundations of Highbury, so that they would have indeed become central to the society. Nazan Fikret 12:1 'Emma' Essay English Literature ...read more.

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