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Opinions on Emma

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message 1: by Sophie (new)

Sophie | 1458 comments Well I was merely interested as I have read many varying views on Emma. Seems to be like marmite - either you love it or hate it!
For me I love it and it is one of my favourites :) and I really like Knightly!!! <3
So I was just wondering why people dislike Emma? :) xx


message 2: by Nicole D. (new)

Nicole D. (thereadingrebel) | 80 comments I dislike the book Emma because I can't stand the heroine.She is so snobbish,thinks she knows everything,and thinks she is better then everyone.But everyone in the novel loves her and she has IMO done nothing for her to be so popluar or well loved.


message 3: by Sophie (new)

Sophie | 1458 comments Fair enough!! But don't you even like her towards the end when she changes? Xx


message 4: by Nicole D. (new)

Nicole D. (thereadingrebel) | 80 comments Not really.She had already gotten on my nerves so much and she only changed because she wanted to be with Knightly.Plus Mr.Knightly is my least favorite hero and I think even as my least hero he deserves a better wife then Emma.


message 5: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie I think she changes toward the end for the better. :)


message 6: by J. (new)

J. Rubino (jrubino) | 198 comments At the beginning of the book, Austen writes that Emma has had very little to "distress or vex her" and that she has had her own way. Unlike Fanny Price, the Bennet girls, Anne Elliott, Emma hasn't really had any setbacks or challenges in her life that might shape her character. Unfortunately, the people around her who ought to be shaping her character - her father, her governess and her elder sister (who lives only 2-3 hours away) - either ignore her shortcomings or don't step up to correct her. Knightley does a lot of disapproving, but he never seems much of a role model.
There is a passage about Emma making lists of books that she means to read, and though she plays and sings and draws, she doesn't do any of them very well. She's never really been pushed to excel and pretty much coasted on charm. I think we all knew someone like that in high school, and probably didn't like her.
I read recently that Whit Stillman, who has gone more than a dozen years without making a film, has a new film out called "Damsels in Distress". The synopsis sounds a little like an updated Emma. His 1990 film "Metropolitan" was about NY society twentysomethings; there were a lot of references to Jane Austen in the script.

janetility.com


message 7: by Rachel, The Honorable Miss Moderator (new)

Rachel (randhrshipper1) | 674 comments Mod
I also find the heroine to be my least favorite part of Emma. I think she is an example of a privleged, immature girl who is also a snob. I think she does change for the better but not enough to make me really like her. (I do like Knightley, though, and Miss Bates cracks me up!)


message 8: by Sophie (last edited Feb 22, 2012 04:19PM) (new)

Sophie | 1458 comments Stephanie wrote - 'I think she changes toward the end for the better. :)'
I totally agree :)

and for me Nicole, Knightly is my 2nd and almost joint 1st hero :)

J wrote - 'At the beginning of the book, Austen writes that Emma has had very little to "distress or vex her"...'
this is very true and therefore the reason why she is like she is. Thanks for the info about those other films :)

Rachel wrote - '(I do like Knightley, though, and Miss Bates cracks me up!)'
haha glad you like Knightly and yes Miss Bates is so funny. I think Austen is very clever how she makes reading the parts where Miss Bates character is speaking very long and very boring to read after a while which is brilliantly showing her character i think :)Well done JA once again ;)


message 9: by Caity (new)

Caity | 144 comments Rachel wrote: "I also find the heroine to be my least favorite part of Emma. I think she is an example of a privleged, immature girl who is also a snob. I think she does change for the better but not enough to ma..."

yes, but don't all young girls start out immature, and then get better and more mature when they have been given a good example(i.e. Knightley) and have grown up a bit?
I agree, Miss Bates is hysterical!


message 10: by Sophie (new)

Sophie | 1458 comments Thanks Alice ;)
As yes I think so! And I feel sorry for knightly when he has to tell her off after the picnic at box hill which is when he really loves her!! Feel so sorry for him them! Sorry random side comment and Bates - gotta love! Austen at her best once more!!!


message 11: by Caity (new)

Caity | 144 comments Never a problem helping friends, and besides, I LOVE EMMA! ♥♥♥♥♥
I know! poor Knightley! You can tell that he agrees with us ( ;) ) that she's just going through a "girlish immature" time, and he's looking forward to when it will "hit her", and he knows it will!(like us! ;D)


message 12: by Sophie (new)

Sophie | 1458 comments Just said to myself - Love this girl!! ;) woops
You totally follow what I think!!! And I think it is just perfect and love it <3 <3 <3 <3 <.3


message 13: by Sophie (new)

Sophie | 1458 comments Alice wrote - '(like is ;D)' oh yeah!!

As this is called opinions on Emma ...
What is your favourite adaptation? I can't decide between 2009 and 1996 Paltrow! (watched that one the other night!! So many funny moments and the ending is just :') <3 but love other one too!!)


message 14: by Nicole D. (new)

Nicole D. (thereadingrebel) | 80 comments My favorite adaptation of Emma is the 2009 Masterpiece one.I think all the parts were cast perfectly.


message 15: by Sophie (new)

Sophie | 1458 comments Yes Johnny Lee miller was brill :)


message 16: by Kim (new)

Kim (kimmr) I listened to an audiobook of Emma last year. I don't think I can express why I like the book and the character any better in this thread than I did in my review, which is here. The best thing about Emma as a character is that her flaws make her very human and she tries so hard to learn from her mistakes.


message 17: by Sophie (new)

Sophie | 1458 comments Thanks I'll check that out and glad to have another fan of Emma :)


message 18: by Caity (new)

Caity | 144 comments Soph wrote: "Just said to myself - Love this girl!! ;) woops
You totally follow what I think!!! And I think it is just perfect and love it <3 <3 <3 <3 <.3"


AW! thank you so much! I've been thinking the same thing! I'm so I got a goodread and found you! :D
My favorite adaption is the most recent, with Johnny Lee Miller and Romola.


message 19: by Margaret (new)

Margaret Metz | 112 comments I agree with most of the comments - especially about her not having had the experiences that help a young person to grow and mature. I do think she had some redeeming traits and (despite her arrogance) good intentions. She does care for her father and show so much less selfishness than he does when her companion decides to marry. He has been more or less her primary role model as to how a person of her class is to behave since they stay home so much.

She's not my favorite heroine, but I don't dislike her. I like the book very much and Knightley was wonderful. :o)


message 20: by LadyDisdain (new)

LadyDisdain It was hard to immediately like Emma, as I did with other heroines, but as Margaret says, she does learn from her mistakes - and yes, that might be due to Knightley but that doesn't have to be a bad thing, does it?
Also like Knightley ;) I love his relationship with Emma; their banter is so enjoyable. He and Emma are the only H&H in Austen's novel who get the most time together on the pages (perhaps excluding NA but haven't read that in awhile so can't remember)and it's so enjoyable to see how they interact with each other. Their relationship is so easy, they're friends first and lovers second, I think, and I kind of like that. Although Darcy & Lizzy and Wentworth & Anne are hot, too.


message 21: by Leonora (new)

Leonora Marie (leonoramarie) I LOVE Emma. I would not have been her friend in real life, but I thought that she was funny and entertaining to read about. Also, I love her whole stance on how she doesn't ever want to be married, that she can be independant forever. Emma always seems to mean well (she's not really selfish, except where Jane Fairfax is concerned) but she always blunders and messes everything up.

Personally, I think that Emma is one of my favorite Austen novels. I do like that she really learns her lesson by the end of the book. :)


message 22: by midnightblooms (new)

midnightblooms | 5 comments Emma is a wonderful novel, and when I was younger it was my favorite. I like Emma herself quite a lot, and Mr. Knightly was my ideal hero for years. *swoon* Darcy was my other favorite hero, but Emma was a much livelier novel than P&P and I love the back-and-forth between Emma and Mr. Knightly.

I still love Emma, but after twenty(!) years, I find more satisfaction in the more subtle (more adult?) love stories. Elizabeth and Anne Elliot are more in the same place where I am, and so I relate more to them now. Ironically, the novels I love most today are the ones I couldn't appreciate as much when I was younger.

As others have pointed out, Emma hasn't had to work for anything except Knightly's regard, and not very hard for that, so her character hasn't really formed. She inexperienced, aside from being pampered. But her redeeming quality to me is that her heart is in the right place. She genuinely wants to do the right thing.

I think that is the point of the book--to watch her grow from a child with lots of potential for good to a woman who understands better how to implement that potential.


message 23: by Caity (new)

Caity | 144 comments Leonora wrote: "I LOVE Emma. I would not have been her friend in real life, but I thought that she was funny and entertaining to read about. Also, I love her whole stance on how she doesn't ever want to be married..."

EXACTLY! Well said, Leonora!


message 24: by Caity (new)

Caity | 144 comments LadyDisdain wrote: "It was hard to immediately like Emma, as I did with other heroines, but as Margaret says, she does learn from her mistakes - and yes, that might be due to Knightley but that doesn't have to be a ba..."

I agree about Emma and Knightley; I love the way they act together through the whole thing.


message 25: by Caity (new)

Caity | 144 comments Midnightblooms said: As others have pointed out, Emma hasn't had to work for anything except Knightly's regard, and not very hard for that, so her character hasn't really formed. She inexperienced, aside from being pampered. But her redeeming quality to me is that her heart is in the right place. She genuinely wants to do the right thing.
I think that is the point of the book--to watch her grow from a child with lots of potential for good to a woman who understands better how to implement that potential.

Good point of view, and well said, thank you.


message 26: by Sophie (new)

Sophie | 1458 comments Alice wrote - 'AW! thank you so much! I've been thinking the same thing! I'm so I got a goodread and found you! :D
My favorite adaption is the most recent, with Johnny Lee Miller and Romola. '
So am i! :) and i like that one too (JLM - <3) but also like the Paltrow one too :)

Margret wrote - 'She does care for her father and show so much less selfishness than he does when her companion decides to marry. He has been more or less her primary role model as to how a person of her class is to behave since they stay home so much.'
Yes i agree! i love her compassion and caring nature towards her father.
'She's not my favorite heroine, but I don't dislike her. I like the book very much and Knightley was wonderful. :o)'
And yes i love Knightly too!!!! :D <3


Lady Distain wrote - 'that might be due to Knightley but that doesn't have to be a bad thing, does it? '
I don't think it is at all - show her willness to listen to what others tell her :)
'Also like Knightley ;) I love his relationship with Emma; their banter is so enjoyable. He and Emma are the only H&H in Austen's novel who get the most time together on the pages (perhaps excluding NA but haven't read that in awhile so can't remember)and it's so enjoyable to see how they interact with each other. Their relationship is so easy, they're friends first and lovers second, I think, and I kind of like that. Although Darcy & Lizzy and Wentworth & Anne are hot, too.'
I agree with everything you have said and i like how much time they get together as it contrasts a lot to the other couples :)

Leonora wrote - 'I LOVE emma'
SO DO I!!! YAY!! <3 <3 <3
'Personally, I think that Emma is one of my favorite Austen novels. I do like that she really learns her lesson by the end of the book. :)'
Yes Emma is one of my favs too! nearly first fav, and she really does learn her lesson and i think that this removes some of her dislikeableness and also she becomes more appealing becasue if the way Churchill treated her :)

Midnightblooms wrote - 'Emma is a wonderful novel, and when I was younger it was my favorite. I like Emma herself quite a lot, and Mr. Knightly was my ideal hero for years. *swoon* Darcy was my other favorite hero, but Emma was a much livelier novel than P&P and I love the back-and-forth between Emma and Mr. Knightly. '
So do i! love that they start out friends so take liberties with each other that the other couples can't. and thats interesting and understandable about how you opinions change as you get older - thanks for sharing :)

Alice also wrote - 'Leonora wrote: "I LOVE Emma. I would not have been her friend in real life, but I thought that she was funny and entertaining to read about. Also, I love her whole stance on how she doesn't ever want to be married..."
EXACTLY! Well said, Leonora!'
loving the Emma love :D

'I love the way they act together through the whole thing. '
I as already said, they are able to play around and tease each other as they are friends, whereas, for example, Darcy and Lizzy have to be, lets say, more subtle... ;)


message 27: by Caity (new)

Caity | 144 comments Soph wrote: "Alice wrote - 'AW! thank you so much! I've been thinking the same thing! I'm so I got a goodread and found you! :D
My favorite adaption is the most recent, with Johnny Lee Miller and Romola. '
So a..."


"Loving the Emma love"
LOL! Me too!

yes; poor Darcy and Lizzy. ;)


message 28: by Sophie (new)

Sophie | 1458 comments Alice wrote -' "Loving the Emma love"
LOL! Me too!

yes; poor Darcy and Lizzy. ;) '

;) and yeah but yet they still achieve it in their own, clever and subtle ways but Knightly and Emma are allowed and able to be more open which is really fun to read/watch!!! :)


message 29: by Caity (new)

Caity | 144 comments definitely fun! :D


message 30: by LadyDisdain (new)

LadyDisdain I think Darcy & Lizzy will be equally teasing of one another after that second proposal. We get to see an example of that when Lizzy questions him cheekily about when he started falling for her.

Of course it's easier for Knightley & Emma to tease other for more of the novel as they've known each other for most of their lives and are comfortable with each other unlike Darcy & Lizzy. Different kind of attractions ;)

Emma's a great character; she's manipulative but always does things out of the goodness of her heart I think. However, maybe she was also a little too bored with nothing to do so she had plenty of time playing 'God' with Harriet. Maybe she's a portrayal of what happens when females in the 19th century have too MUCH power. So perhaps Austen's saying women need more occupations just as men do and are lucky enough to have?


message 31: by Caity (new)

Caity | 144 comments LadyDisdain wrote: "I think Darcy & Lizzy will be equally teasing of one another after that second proposal. We get to see an example of that when Lizzy questions him cheekily about when he started falling for her.

..."


I agree about Emma's character; she's a good girl, really. ;)


message 32: by Sophie (new)

Sophie | 1458 comments 'I think Darcy & Lizzy will be equally teasing of one another after that second proposal. We get to see an example of that when Lizzy questions him cheekily about when he started falling for her. '
Yeah - i think that is why those two couples are my fav and why i love the chapters after the 2nd proposal in p and p :)

'Of course it's easier for Knightley & Emma to tease other for more of the novel as they've known each other for most of their lives and are comfortable with each other unlike Darcy & Lizzy. Different kind of attractions ;) '
and yeah cause they have been friends for ever <3 thats why i love them <3

'Emma's a great character; she's manipulative but always does things out of the goodness of her heart I think. However, maybe she was also a little too bored with nothing to do so she had plenty of time playing 'God' with Harriet. Maybe she's a portrayal of what happens when females in the 19th century have too MUCH power. So perhaps Austen's saying women need more occupations just as men do and are lucky enough to have? '
Yes - thats a point! as Austen always wants to put her own opinions in via her characters. Thanks :)


And yes Alice - she is a good girl really!! ;)


message 33: by Loraine (new)

Loraine H. | 5 comments I think Emma is by far the funniest book by JA. Yes, Emma is a manipulative, spoiled young woman, but the development of her character from selfcentered to mature and sensible is - IMO - written with devilish humour.
Almost all of her plans/schemes blow up in her face, and the only person that looks bad in the end, is Emma herself. To her credit, she has a lot of insight in her character and actions and does change for the better.

Then of course there are the other characters, e.g. the father who is a hypochondriac, mrs Bates who talks without ever saying anything.

I always get the feeling that JA really liked the plot where the beautiful and rich heroine gets her comeuppance.


message 34: by Eszter (new)

Eszter (ekovacsek) | 14 comments I love Emma much more than Fanny Price or Anne Elliott, because the former is less than perfect, while the latter two are too perfect. In other words, Emma is more human and hence more sympathetic. And, even though she is indeed silly, snobbish and spoiled, she carries the burden of her father alone and does so with great patience and without ever complaining. For THAT I truly admire her.


message 35: by Sophie (new)

Sophie | 1458 comments I completely agree with both of you


Victoria_Grossack Grossack (victoriagrossack) | 94 comments One of Emma's problems is that she is very bright (although not as bright as she wants to believe) and stuck in Highbury with so little to challenge or to amuse her. Furthermore, the opportunities for young ladies in her class was very restricted, and her own situation was made worse by her father's condition. So she resorts to using her imagination, and not always for good. In some things she is correct: Jane Fairfax's remaining so long in Highbury is odd.


message 37: by Eszter (new)

Eszter (ekovacsek) | 14 comments Victoria_Grossack wrote: "One of Emma's problems is that she is very bright (although not as bright as she wants to believe) and stuck in Highbury with so little to challenge or to amuse her. Furthermore, the opportunities..."

So true!


message 38: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum I'm just getting ready to re-read Emma, so I'm glad you're all commenting here!


message 39: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum I just had the funniest thought! As I was reading Mrs. Elton's comments to Emma about her brother-in-law's mansion and his carriages, I had a flash of Hyacinth in the old BBC series, "Keeping Up Appearances". And so, even though Mrs. Elton is young and exceedingly elegant, all I can see is Hyacinth's foolish and snobby middle-aged face. Seriously giggling!


message 40: by Sophie (new)

Sophie | 1458 comments ahaha!! That is very true now you mention it haha!! Oh what a funny image ahahaha - made my day! :)


message 41: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum I'm still laughing, too! I'm not even sure I can finish the page!


message 42: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum One thing that I really noticed during this reading is that Emma is not so much a class snob as she is a head and heart snob. She's a snob about education and brains. The only thing she sees that could make up for a lack of knowledge and understanding would be a gentle heart. In many ways, what she's looking for in her matchmaking is suitability. Looking at Jane Fairfax, a completely dependent poor young woman with no prospects, Emma finds herself actually envying her the accomplishments she has (as Emma admits during her repentant moments). She has had a good education, she has taste and talent and elegance, but she has no fortune. On the strength of her accomplishmnts and deportment alone, Emma sees her superiority. Emma is willing to elevate Harriet, too, simply on the strength of her sweetness of heart. Unfortunately for her, she's terrible at discerning who is compatible with whom!

Another thing I appreciated this reading is the sincerity of Emma's repentance. She's mortified by her behavior and is determined to never repeat it. I think in the space of a year or so, she grows from a spoilt, bored child to an aware, grateful woman.

Oh, and one more thing in Emma's favor! Her love for her father is beyond admirable! I almost think Miss Bates would be easier to live with...


message 43: by Robin (new)

Robin (robin1129) | 306 comments Karlyne wrote: "I almost think Miss Bates would be easier to live with..."

Hmm ... I don't know about that!


message 44: by Anne (new)

Anne Nikkanen | 28 comments Emma is a bored snob. She is essentially confined to home by her invalid (translated as hypochondriac father) and has nothing better to do than to fix everyone else's life. The trouble is, she in the one who needs to be fixed. Knightley takes it upon himself to try and correct her, she laughs him off. Emma is hardest on Jane Fairfax because Jane represents everything Emma should be and deep down Emma knows this. Everyone tells Emma how accomplished she is, but in reality Emma knows they are merely patronizing her. When they tell Jane the same thing, it bothers Emma because it is truth. Ultimately, as Emma matures and begins to see herself for who she truly is, real change occurs. Emma I think is the best example of an evolution of the soul from silly and cruel to mindful and respectful.


message 45: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum Robin wrote: "Karlyne wrote: "I almost think Miss Bates would be easier to live with..."

Hmm ... I don't know about that!"


Actually, they both fill me with fear, the fear of what I might do if I had to live with either of them!


message 46: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum Anne wrote: "Emma is a bored snob. She is essentially confined to home by her invalid (translated as hypochondriac father) and has nothing better to do than to fix everyone else's life. The trouble is, she in t..."

But Emma only stays at home because she loves her father. She knows how much it would distress him if she left him for any length of time at all, and so she doesn't go. And there is never any suggestion that she's just waiting for him to die, either. She genuinely cares for his welfare. And since he's obviously not an easy person to live with (I mean, whew!), I have to give her credit for her love.


message 47: by Anne (new)

Anne Nikkanen | 28 comments I agree Emma is devoted to her father. I didn't mean to suggest that she is waiting for him to die, she is simply bound to his home. Emma and her father are what we would call in the modern world a co-dependent relationship. He indulges her fancies by saying she can do no wrong and she indulges his by tailoring their lives around his illness. As Emma's character grows she sees this; it is out of the pure kindness of Knightley that a solution is found, he will live with them after the wedding. Essentially Emma grows out of her girlhood and into Knightley.


message 48: by Sophie (new)

Sophie | 1458 comments It is so sweet of Knightley to suggest that solution. The gentleman moving in to live with the lady - unheard of!


message 49: by Maria (last edited Aug 28, 2013 07:52AM) (new)

Maria | 94 comments That is why I love Mr. Knightley... he is so sweet! And also, he is always honest with Emma, that should be a necessary trait for all of the men.


message 50: by Karlyne (new)

Karlyne Landrum No wonder Emma finally grows into loving Knightley ; she has been surrounded by love all of her life. Her father, her sister, Miss Taylor have all loved her and seen none of her faults. The Knightley brothers are the only ones who have loved her and yet seen her faults. And, to her credit, she knows that their love is not fond and doting and yet she returns it!


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