Another intersection between List and MA, can it be? YES IT CAN! I’ve recently finished reading Emma for one of my classes this term. This is my second foray into Austen, and, if I’m being honest, Northanger Abbey was better.
Perhaps that’s only because it was shorter, though…there are a lot of parallels between the two novels — NA could almost be considered Emma junior. In both novels, a young woman is woefully unable to correctly read those around her, and hilarity ensues. Everyone gets married, the end.
In Emma, however, the main title character is awful. I spent a good deal of the first half of the book yelling obscenities at her, and throwing the book against the wall. Okay, I didn’t literally throw the book against the wall (what kind of a monster do you think I am?), but there was fair amount of eye-rolling happening on my part. As the kids say, I was throwing some serious shade.
Emma’s saving grace in the novel is that Austen saw fit to write in a character we would hate more than her heroine – Mr. Frank Freakin’ Churchill. What a useless piece of human flesh he is. Current theory: Frank’s function in the plot is to highlight the ridiculous impotence and lack of agency women have in their lives – by feminizing Frank and placing him in the predicament of many middle-class women of the period, Austen highlights the ridiculousness of the position. She is saying: “See – if this is a man, suddenly it’s not okay, but this is what you are doing to your daughters. Check your double-standards, people!”
Maybe – that’s one theory. The other theory is that she wanted to a have a foil for Mr. Knightley. This theory is just as credible.
Favourite Moment: That time when she was directly responsible for her BFF’s heartbreak TWICE and then when her friend FINALLY moves on, Emma goes “hmmm actually…Imma marry him…can you not come around here anymore? K, thanks, BYEEEEE”
- Having a carriage was a big deal – but you had to have a carriage at the right time. A carriage too early was an invitation for public scrutiny. Check your carriage before you wreck your carriage.
- Gypsies will rob you if you’re nice to them.
- Doctor wars are intense. Pick your side and don’t back down!
- Bath was the Las Vegas of 19c middle-class England.
- Never trust your brand new friend if they tell you someone is in love with you – they are wrong and it will ruin your life.
- If a lover sends you a surprise anonymous piano, he’s probably not good enough for you.
- If a lover wants to keep your engagement secret, he’s definitely not good enough for you.
- Always make sure you have enough apples.
QUESTION: In a contest between Mrs. Elton, Miss Bates, and Anne of Green Gables – who speaks for the longest without pause?