Emma Emma discussion

Thoughts on the ending?

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Rebecca Emma is one of my favourite Jane Austen novels. The only thing that bothered me was how Emma's relationship with Harriet terminated at the end of the novel. I had watched a BBC adaption of the novel before reading the book itself, and I enjoyed the film version's depiction of Emma growing to happily mix with those of a lower class and remain close friends with Harriet. With that image in my head, I was surprised and a little displeased with the ending of the book. I felt like Emma returned to the views of class that she had at the beginning of the novel, and showed no distress when she lost her friend.

What does everybody else think about this aspect of the end of the novel?

message 2: by Himika (last edited Jun 06, 2016 08:15AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Himika Chakraborty It's no wonder Emma terminated her relationship with Harriet.I always found Emma to be too proud and snobbish about her social position ,and looking down on others of inferior social standing.Initially,she thought Harriet was the daughter of a gentleman,and that's why she adopted her as her project.She enjoyed Harriet's adoration of her and wanted to put her matchmaking skills to test through her.I don't think she really cared for Harriet as a person.She looked down on Robert martin as a poor match for Harriet because he was a farmer,and according to her,unworthy of a gentleman's daughter.The moment she finds out Harriet herself is a trader's illegitimate daughter,she's okay with the match.She begins to feel animosity for Harriet as soon as she knows of her feelings for Mr.Knightley and wants her out of the way.The end was,in my opinion quite a happy one-Harriet got to escape from Emma's snobbish comments on her social position and Emma got rid of a friend she cared for only as one would care for a faithful little puppy wich always wags its tail for its owner.

message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

Maybe it has been too long ago with my reading, but I thought that Harriet simply married the man she wanted to (who Emma had disapproved of previously) and everyone is happy ... with Emma now marrying Knightley. I did not think anything specific was mentioned by Austen regarding social circles of the two, but perhaps that is a given?

Rebecca The social differences and opinions do form a significant part of the book, and Emma makes reference at the end of the novel about how her relationship with Harriet must significantly change because of her marriage.

Katy Even today, those of us who are not wealthy are not likely to socialize in the same circles as those who are. I don't think there was anything deliberate in their not seeing very much of each other. It seemed like it just happened because Harriet began socializing with Robert Martin's friends while Emma remained in her own social circle. The book seems to indicate that they remained friendly to each other, but did not spend as much time together as before. I think it was just the kind of natural growing apart that happens a lot when two friends' lives go in different directions.

Rebecca Katy wrote: "Even today, those of us who are not wealthy are not likely to socialize in the same circles as those who are. I don't think there was anything deliberate in their not seeing very much of each other..."

I do agree with you, but I think the fact they were from different classes was quite emphasised as the reason why their friendship could not be pursued by Emma. To me, it seemed like Austen was making a point about how different classes should not mix. I also felt like Austen was making a similar point in Mansfield Park, through her depiction of Fanny's family.

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