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The Social Evolution of Emma Woodhouse

In: English and Literature

Submitted By omagnussen
Words 1157
Pages 5
As the saying goes, one cannot judge a book by its cover. This is especially true in the novel Emma by Jane Austen. The novel pertains to this saying, but beyond that the characters do as well. Emma Woodhouse, the shallow heroine cannot see behind looks and what the reasoning is through people’s actions. She is so aloof to what is happening outside of her perspective that many people’s actions in the novel, which are predictable many times to the reader, end up surprising her. This ultimately leads to Emma experiencing several major revelations in the novel that fundamentally change her understanding of herself and those around her. Emma represents many ignorant girls who cannot see past their own delusions of what others are thinking. Austen uses this plot device to convey to the reader that with people, things are not always what they seem and that even the most ignorant of teenage girls can change their perceptions of themselves and others around them. The first character that Emma is shocked by is Mr. Elton. After Emma convinces Harriet that Mr. Martin would not be a suitable husband, the girls and Mr. Elton spend much time together. Emma has made it Harriet her project and will not rest until she is married to, who Emma considers to be, a respectable gentleman. Working on a portrait of Harriet, Emma believes that Mr. Elton has taken a liking to Harriet, and she vice versa which pleases her very much. (Austen) Emma soon learns she is far from being right. After a dinner at Randall’s, a slightly drunken Mr. Elton announces his love for Emma as they sit alone in a carriage going back to their estates. Emma is completely taken by surprise and assumes that in his state of stupor, he means for her friend Harriet. But he has a clear mind and quickly tells her that he has never even considered her friend as more than an acquaintance. Mr. Elton proclaims: I never…...

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