What Use Does Jane Austin Make of Property, Propriety, and Passion in Volume 1 of Emma?

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What use does Jane Austin make of property, propriety, and passion in volume 1 of Emma? Jane Austin in her canonical novel, Emma, traces the development of a deluded and privileged young woman in assuming her rightful position in the Regency era. In volume I of this comedy of manners, the author demonstrates this by highlighting instances of impropriety as seen through the characters of Emma, Mr Elton, and the absent Frank Churchill, and contrasting these to the most decorous behaviour, as exemplified by My Knightley. Jane Austen suggests that one’s position in this rigid society is indicated by their relationship to property and it is in the fact what often demonstrates their actions; including any inappropriate outbursts of passion. The Regency era of the early 19th century, of which Austen has set her novel, was a time greatly to do with social status and propriety. If one did not own enough of good fortune, they were considered beneath those who did, and certainly not worthy of marrying above their social status. This is the case where Emma wrongfully suggests that Harriet Smith, the 17 year old daughter of nobody knows whom, is worthy of more than the marriage of Mr Martin, a common farmer. Emma was convinced that Harriet was gentleman’s daughter, when in fact, there was no proof of this, and so of a general rule, Mr Martin should have been considered of at a higher standard of social status than Harriet, and well worth her hand, of which Emma, in attempted discreet, influenced her to decline. Emma deucedly in herself, chose to view Harriet as an almost-equal to herself (though no-one could quite be as “perfect” as her), thus leading to Harriet’s greatest downfall. Mr Elton, a man of little fortune (compared to those as of Mr Woodhouse), was able to secure his social status in quite a different way in this novel; as the vicar of Highbury. A vicar was one
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