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Emma Paper On True Class

1824 words - 8 pages

Defining True Class
“The real evils indeed of Emma’s situation were the power of having rather too much her own way, and a disposition to think a little to well of herself” (Austen, pg5). Immediately in the beginning of Jane Austen’s novel Emma, the reader is given the good characteristics found in Emma closely followed by the flaws found within Emma. Emma has just about everything she could ever need, with wealth being the largest contributor, but fails to live her life unselfishly. One can see how at times Emma is self centered and immature to others. The lower class, the other side of the class spectrum depicted by Austen, is portrayed by the young and vulnerable Harriet. Amongst the ...view middle of the document...

Even though Mr. Knightly knows Emma’s intentions, Emma childishly continues to ignore that facts and oppose Mr. Knightly and Harriet to prove that her opinions are right.
Throughout the novel, Emma constantly disrespects the classes lower than her own for unjust reasons. She believes that she is not only above people within class, but socially as well. Emma thinks so highly of herself that she assumes that she is only helping Harriet. “…and that there would be no serious difficulty on Harriet’s side to oppose any friendly arrangement of her own” (Austen pg24). This quote shows that Emma thinks that because of her status that her opinions and thoughts should be followed and accepted by others. She continuously attempts to manipulate the lower classed Harriet to find a perfect match, without taking into consideration Harriet’s own feelings. Harriet is of lower class and looks up to Emma for advice. Harriet idolizes Emma for the person that she could be and believes that with Emma on her side that she can live a happier life. Emma knows this and uses her influence for the wrong reasons. The reader gets a firsthand example of this when Harriet admires Robert Martin, but Emma discourages the match with the lower classed farmer and insists that Harriet finds a man of higher class.
An individual can see that the character of Jane Fairfax also brings unnecessary disrespect from Emma.  “Emma's assessment of the position of others depends to a great degree on how they satisfy her sense of superiority” (Minma). However when Jane enters the picture, everyone takes notice and admires how Jane is an overall genuine person with respectable traits. The reader can see an example of this when Jane’s piano and singing skills prove to be superior to Emma’s. Although it is unintentional, the characteristics Jane possesses over Emma cause Emma to react against Jane only because she feels that she is being challenged for her rank within society. This example shows an individual what Emma holds her social rank over personality and social class. With the character of Jane Fairfax, Austen shows the reader that personality and character play a greater role than one’s social class and wealth. The character of Jane also shows the reader that even with class differences, people can appreciate each other for who they are.
The reader can see that Emma criticizes and neglects Mr. Elton, and later his wife, just because they are of a slightly lower class than her. Emma finds Mr. Elton’s moderate wealth and personality a fitting match for the under classed Harriet and begins to frequently mingle with Elton. Her intentions to draw Elton closer to Harriet only bring Elton closer to her. When Mr. Elton proposes, Emma takes Mr. Elton’s proposal as a mere joke, selfishly stating that she would never consider someone with as low of class as him. Emma then degrades Mr. Elton further, discouraging Harriet from him. This example shows the reader that Emma only regards her own feelings...

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