Mrs. Schuet's AP Literature Class of '16 discussion

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Emma by Jane Austen

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message 1: by Leilani (last edited Dec 07, 2015 07:49PM) (new)

Leilani (leilaniloo) | 7 comments I chose to read this book because I wanted to read an English classic by a well-known author. I'm a little worried because I've heard that this book is kind of boring, but I'm hoping that it will provide with me some English background that I haven't yet been exposed to.

I've just finished chapter one. So far in the book, I've met several characters with the most important being twenty-one year-old Emma Woodhouse who seems to have a virtually perfect life. She's wealthy, intelligent, and pretty, but the reader is exposed to her weaknesses as well, such as the fact that she thinks too highly of herself. Emma is extremely proud because she has just arranged her governess, Mrs. Weston's, marriage.

At this point, the book doesn't seem too boring. Emma's character is actually quite fascinating to me. I've read a lot of books where the main character doesn't have much confidence, so I'm interested to see how Emma's character continues to develop and maybe change.


message 2: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Yu | 5 comments Is this book a lot like the movie "Clueless"?


message 3: by Priyanka (new)

Priyanka Kulkarni | 4 comments Does the style of writing make it difficult to read?


message 4: by Ella (new)

Ella Pinco | 12 comments What about the marriage arrangement causes Emma to gain even more confidence? Do you think that this confidence will continue?


message 5: by Katie (new)

Katie (ktwingrove) | 5 comments I chose to read this book because it is a well known literary classic. I've always wanted to read Jane Austen, but have never gotten around to it. I decided that because we have a longer time to read this OR book, it'd be a great time to start it since it is very long.

I am on chapter three. There has not been much action yet, and the main purpose of these first couple chapters so far has been to develop the characters. The first chapter described Emma Woodhouse's life. Emma is twenty-one and lives with her farther. They are wealthy and as a result of this, Emma is spoiled. It becomes obvious that Emma is self centered and not very grounded in reality when she boasts that she arranged her governess's marriage. A character named Mr. Knightly is able to see Emma's faults and allows the reader to be able to view her personal faults.

So far, I've enjoyed what I have read. Austen's syntax is a bit challenging to read due to her lengthy sentences, but I'm really enjoying the amount of description put into the development of each character. It's also really interesting to read a book set in a smaller English town. I'm curious to see if Emma's arrogance will be further revealed later on and if it affects her in a negative way.


message 6: by Katie (new)

Katie (ktwingrove) | 5 comments I've read a couple more chapters and have met a new character, named Harriet Smith. Harriet's parentage is unknown and she attends a boarding school. Emma invites Harriet to the Woodhouse home for dinner where she decides that Harriet will be an improvement project. Harriet's admiration of Emma allows Emma to be able to do so and manipulate her to where she eventually influences Harriet out marrying a man she does not find socially acceptable. This reveals Emma's value on social class and societal expectations. I also believe that Emma is attempting to cope with the loss of her friend Mrs. Weston, who she was very close to and admired very much. Her friendship with Mrs. Weston ended as a result of marriage, and Emma does not want to lose Harriet to marriage, too. This makes me wonder what role marriage will play in Emma's future and how she feels about the institution.


message 7: by Leilani (last edited Dec 10, 2015 09:12PM) (new)

Leilani (leilaniloo) | 7 comments Priyanka wrote: "Does the style of writing make it difficult to read?"

The style of the writing doesn't make it particularly difficult to understand. I've noticed that the author likes to write with relatively long sentences and is a big comma and semicolon user. This makes the writing seem pedantic at times, but at the same time, I appreciate all the detail that the author includes. The book is written in the third person point of view, and when I'm reading, I feel like I'm listening to a professional storyteller narrating in a really grand, slightly pretentious tone of voice. When the characters speak, the tone is very formal and pompous. I'm not sure if this is just because of the time and setting of the novel or if it because the characters are rich and well-educated. So far, the style of the book is interesting to me because it makes me feel like I'm reading a very important story, but I'm also afraid that it's going to get tiring and repetitive to read really soon.


message 8: by Leilani (last edited Dec 10, 2015 09:12PM) (new)

Leilani (leilaniloo) | 7 comments Jessica wrote: "Is this book a lot like the movie "Clueless"?"

I've never seen or even heard of the movie "Clueless", but after looking it up, the plot seems very similar. In the movie, the main character tries to set up her new friend with a guy in the same way that Emma tries to arrange a marriage for her friends. Also, if you look up "Emma" here on Goodreads, the very first question in the "Reader Q & A" section is "How similar is this book to Clueless?" It seems like the similarity between "Emma" and "Clueless" has been noticed by others as well.


message 9: by Leilani (last edited Dec 10, 2015 09:12PM) (new)

Leilani (leilaniloo) | 7 comments Ella wrote: "What about the marriage arrangement causes Emma to gain even more confidence? Do you think that this confidence will continue?"

The marriage arrangement has led to her having a "disposition to think a little too well of herself" (7). Since Emma doesn't have, or even feel the need to have, a man of her own in her life, she might think she needs to arrange marriages to feel like she's actually doing something meaningful in her life. Human beings naturally desire success, so maybe arranging marriages for her friends is her way of being successful. I think Emma likes the credit, praise, and reputation that she receives, allowing her to "think a little too well of herself".


message 10: by Ella (new)

Ella Pinco | 12 comments Leilani, Do you think that her desire for success will change? Consider Jane Austen's other books. Is she capable of loving a man if she is so focused on making other people fall in love?


message 11: by Leilani (new)

Leilani (leilaniloo) | 7 comments Ella wrote: "Leilani, Do you think that her desire for success will change? Consider Jane Austen's other books. Is she capable of loving a man if she is so focused on making other people fall in love?"

I've never read any of Jane Austen's other books, but I know she likes to create strong female characters. Because of this and what I've read so far, I don't think her desire for success will change, but I do think it's possible for her to change her definition of success. While she still hates passing up opportunities to help her friend, Harriet, fall in love, she is now able to see Frank as a potential suitor even for herself.


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