How Are The Disparities In The Social And Emotional Spheres Resolved At The End Of 'Emma'?

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Discuss how disparities in the social and emotional spheres are resolved at the end of the novel. Is it possible to establish any parallels between the two? Although there is no published prequel to Emma, every reader must imagine their own. The key to Emma’s character may lie in the period of her life before the story opens. Although it was only sixteen miles from London, ‘Hartfield’ (and Highbury) was a fairly ‘closed’ society. We know that ‘The Woodhouses were in first consequence there’ ( 1 - page 9 ) but Emma’s father was extremely introverted, hypochondriac, fragile and conservative. Emma would have ‘frequented’ very few houses in the area, she had few companions of her own age and her experience of education through a single governess would have been limiting. When the novel opens, Emma is not described in glowing terms. Although she has had the many advantages of a privileged background and she is handsome (1 – page 7) and highly intelligent, she is also ‘self-willed and self-deluding, too accustomed to having her own way, too attached to her own opinions; and in the early stages of the book at least, an insufferable snob’ ( 2 - page 99 ). Unlike other Austen heroines, Emma is financially very secure and it is perhaps for this reason that she shows no immediate concern for her own marriage prospects. Hartfield is a well established house but hardly flamboyant. Mr. Woodhouse shows excessive concern for his chickens and can wax lyrical on the virtues of ‘thin gruel’. Within this safe environment Emma plays out her ‘comedy of manners’ ( 8) The courtship between her governess Miss Taylor and Mr. Weston would have been an interesting one for Emma. Miss Taylor would have been very aware of the possible hurt she could cause by leaving the Woodhouse household. She had become a close friend and confident of Emma’s. I imagine that Miss

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