Tuesday, January 18, 2011
by Jane Austin
I don't know if there's anything left to say about a Jane Austin novel, but that's not going to stop me from trying. This novel was mainly read during a family vacation to Lake Tahoe to go skiing; the picture above was taken during the flight from St. Louis to Las Vegas (complimentary hot chocolate with heart stirrer via Southwest Airlines).
Emma is my fourth Austin novel to complete, with only Mansfield Park and Persuasion left to check off the list. Like most girls, I've long been a fan of Austin's novels; beyond just Mr. Darcy, I enjoy their delightful commentary on British society and Austin's keen social observations, and Emma was no exception to this.
Jane Austin once said that Emma Woodhouse was a heroine whom "no one but myself will much like," and after reading Emma for myself, I understand exactly why she would think so, but I have to admit that I belong to the club that loves Emma Woodhouse.
Here's why: Emma's character is what makes the novel so endearing. While incredibly intelligent, Emma is not always the most aware person and lacks common sense. In addition to an addition to playing matchmaker, she has quite the active imagination, always reading too much into the wrong situations and too little into the right ones. She spends most of the novel not seeing what was right in front of her all along.
However, I couldn't help but love Emma for being, well, just a little bit clueless (irony completely intended because I'm shameless). Emma is a great character because of her clueless tendencies, not in spite of them. She truly means well in the choices she makes, even when they are misguided, and in the end, she is all too aware of the troubles her flaws have caused. Honestly, I think I enjoyed Emma so much because she was such a realistic character. Personally, I know that I can relate to her, and I think we all can at times, which is why the story's popularity has continued into the present day.
Sure, she's not Elizabeth Bennett (of Pride & Prejudice fame), but I certainly understand how Emma has won the hearts of many loyal Austin fans. It certainly has mine.