Emma Emma question


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Is Emma's and Harriet's friendship true?
Lakshmi Lakshmi Mar 19, 2013 11:19PM
I feel that their friendship didn't do much good to Harriet as it made her vain.As she gained entry into the high society ,she was admired by many and in my opinion that worsened her character.



No, it is certainly not a true friendship in my book.

I never took it as a true, genuine, healthy relationship.
For one thing, Emma constantly manipulates Harriet, and Harriet is basically a puppet for Emma that she enjoys having power over and modeling into the person she thinks Harriet should be. Mr. Knightly looks through Emma's motives (that she herself isn't aware of) and that's why he disapproves of the relationship.

Furtermore, Emma has no problem ditching Harriet and ending their friendship when Harriet doesn't act the way Emma wants her to.
The end of the book indicates that their friendship doesn't last, or at least I took it to mean as much.

That Emma ceases to spend time with Harriet is a sign of her character growth; Emma is ashamed of what she's done and of her schemes, and moves on.
At least, that's my take on things.

F 25x33
Lakshmi I guess you are right.I can see that Emma and Harriet are not genuine friends at all. It's almost like Emma is experimenting on Harriet. But then, Emm ...more
Mar 23, 2013 10:08PM · flag

No it is not a true friendship. The only reason that Emma's took Harriet under her wing was to hitch her to Mr. Elton. The adaptations make the friendship appear genuine.

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Mitali That was certainly not the only reason. Emma wanted to help Harriet better herself, and Elton became part of the plan only after Emma thought he was i ...more
Mar 20, 2013 11:40PM · flag

I think that probably because of the class difference between Harriet (who had unknown parentage, and was taken in by another family) and Emma (who was of one of the wealthiest and most esteemed families of the county), they were probably as close as they could have been. Since Emma was in a higher position in terms of social class, my guess is she probably thought that by 'guiding' or 'leading' Harriet, she was doing her a service to 'improve her station in life'. She probably even figured that it was her duty, as a friend, to take on that role. Emma also vowed to never get married herself, so she probably took on the matronly role of thinking she knew what was best and doing what she had to do to get Harriet farther in life (in her mind). Do I think that's friendship? No, not really. Totally flawed and I think Emma talks down to Harriet all the time, which is awful. I don't think she intends to be mean or bad to Harriet, though. But you also have to think of historical context when evaluating the friendship instead of necessarily looking at it through the historical lens of how we view friendship today. :)


Emma and Harriet's friendship is certainly true, in the sense that it's a sincere friendship and both of them genuinely care about the other. But yes, it also does have a rather negative effect on Harriet.


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