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

Show how Austin builds up suspense and tension in the Elton/Harriet/Emma relationship, leading up to the dramatic conclusion.

Extracts from this document...


Show how Austin builds up suspense and tension in the Elton/Harriet/Emma relationship, leading up to the dramatic conclusion. The first volume of Jane Austens' Emma has a dramatic conclusion in which Mr Elton proposes to Emma. Emma's wild imagination is the source of all the confusion in the novel, as she attempts to match-make the local vicar, Mr Elton and her friend Harriet Smith, who is of a lower social class, with uncertain parentage, (living in a time when status and class were of the utmost importance). During the first volume of the novel the objective narrative stance contains much dramatic irony; the reader is allowed to observe Mr Elton's increasing attachment to Emma with growing pleasure whilst she remains completely oblivious of his infatuation and continues to misconstrue every sign of affection to herself as further indication of his affection to Harriet. The first time the reader hears about Emma's intentions to match-make Mr Elton is at the end of the first chapter- "Only one more, papa; only for Mr Elton. Poor Mr Elton!" Mr Knightley warns Emma that meddling in the affairs of others can bring nothing but trouble. ...read more.


Tension is increased after Emma cunningly (but good- heartedly) manipulates Harriet into refusing Mr Robert Martin's proposal- the reader knows Mr Martin is a good suitor for Harriet but has to watch as Emma's snobbery compels her to influence the subservient Harriet. Mr Knightley visits Emma to tell her Mr Martin intends to propose to Harriet, unaware the event has already occurred; "...I have good reason to believe your little friend will soon hear of something to her advantage." The reader experiences anticipation because we already know what has a happened. Mr Knightley is very angry at Emma's interference and guesses her plans for Harriet and Mr Elton and warns her against them, "Elton will not do." Emma is made uneasy by her quarrel with Mr Knightley but once again ignores his good advice, which infuriates the reader. Austen makes us aware of Mr Knightley's astute judgement throughout the novel, this helps to build the mounting tension. The event of the charade is full of ambivalence and the situation is almost hilarious. Mr Elton provides a riddle of love for the two girls' book. It is clearly written as a statement of love for Emma, and as she is so delighted when she tells him that she wrote it in their book, he perceives it as a sign of encouragement. ...read more.


However, even after this Emma still keeps us anticipating her much awaited comprehension, initially assuming he is drunk; "Mr Elton, the lover of Harriet, was professing himself her lover." Mr Elton is oblivious to Emma's dismay, shock and anger and continues his declaration in earnest and it takes Emma a long time to convey her refusal. Mr Elton protests that he never thought of Miss Smith in any other way than her friend, and that all his attentions had been towards her, that he believed himself to have been encouraged by Emma. The conversation grows more heated as Mr Elton insists he could never consider marrying at the 'level' of Harriet's social status. "I have no thoughts of matrimony at present" Emma bluntly refuses him and "He was too angry to say another word", an outraged silence ensues until the carriage reaches the vicarage and he makes his escape. Austen uses many techniques to create tension and suspense in the lead up to the dramatic and powerful conclusion of the Emma/ Harriet/ Mr Elton situation, including a lot of ambiguity and ambivalence and much irony from the narrative voice. I think Mr Knightley is also a useful tool because he tries to warn her with the truth and we know he is correct and have confidence his opinion, but Emma is so stubborn and determined that she ignores him. ...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 ...

    Emma's attachment to Frank Churchill had settled down, but she is worried that he is in love with her. When Frank returns, he doesn't visit her as much. Frank Churchill, his aunt and uncle have found a house nine miles away from Mr Weston.

  2. How does Arthur Miller present the relationship of John and Elizabeth Proctor in The ...

    In the final act, Act four, Elizabeth is brought to confront John to persuade him to confess and thereby save his life. But Elizabeth cannot bring herself to give John her forgiveness, 'It is not for me to give John.'

  1. 'Describe the ways in which Wilkie Collins builds up a sense of mystery and ...

    A contrast with 'A Terribly Strange Bed' is the description of another of the main characters in this story, Bessie. She is the heroine of the story and is described as a brave young woman; "you cowardly villains". The reader is given the impression that she is extremely confident because

  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

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

    She might find Emma's irritating points purely amusing. Emma then tries to set them up together, which to her, seems to be working, but it is easy to see it won't work out well in the end. Many people would find Emma's constant interfering intrusive (" Emma felt the glory of having schemed successfully.")

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

    Emma's attitude towards the outdoors seems, to a certain extent, to be related to her lack of self-awareness and snobbery. It seems that those characters usually deemed by readers and perhaps by Austen as the most likeable and sensible characters seem to enjoy the countryside more than those we are led to dislike.

  1. Free essay

    Jane Austen's Realism

    It is the function of comedy to discover theses ladent and un observed eccentricities and inconsistencies and expose them to the irony and comic smile of all those who read and understand them.

  2. Jane Austens Northanger Abbey depicts and enriches her readers with a better understanding of ...

    Come along with me.?[4] Quizzing in this sense meaning to boast and test other?s intellects. Austen exposes the folly of Thorpe and the arrogance of the upper class in this scene and throughout the novel by letting the reader know of Catherine?s confusion and discontent to such standards.

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