One of a Kind

Now when Jane Austen wrote Emma she created a character that was completely different from any of the other heroines.

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Yep, Emma is truly unique and here are the reasons why.

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1) No Worries About Money

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Unlike the other heroines, Emma has no worries at all about money. While Elizabeth and Jane Bennet, Pride & Prejudice, are from an okay family, their estate is entailed so their family are constantly worrying about how they will marry the girls off. Elinor and Marianne, Sense & Sensibility, were raised wealthy, but too fall victim to the dreaded entailment

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and ended up schlepped to a cottage, their mother worrying if she will be able to get any man interested as their dowry is so small. Fanny, Mansfield Park, mother was rich but married down, living in poverty. Fanny managed to escape this as her wealthy aunt and uncle brought her into their home, but she wasn’t treated nice but constantly reminded that she was a poor relation. In Northanger Abbey, Catherine Moreland comes from a financially ok family, but as we see when James announces his engagement they don’t have gobs of cash. This is a moment of strife for Henry Tilney, as he has been trained to marry wealthy, rather than for love. Anne Elliot, Persuasion, was also born wealthy, but finds herself heading toward poverty as her father is whittling it away on the stupidest things.

Out of all of them, Emma is the only one who is finacially stable throughout the whole book. She also doesn’t have to worry about entailment, as her father has no restrictions. In fact, she is the favorite of her father’s children, so in fact she’s the one who will be getting all the money.

money money money

And she nows this. However, unlike the other Austen heroines, this security of life does cause her to become bored, which leads her to meddling in others lives.

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2) Doesn’t Want to Get Married

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Unlike the other heroines of Jane Austen’s world, Emma doesn’t want to get married. I wrote a whole post on it, The Real Revolutionary, so I’m only going to touch base on it here.

Emma doesn’t feel the need to marry as she doesn’t need money (her father is rich and she will inherit it all), she has never met a man who she felt was her equal, she is independent enough in her own home as she is mistress of the house, etc. For her, she’s believes she can have a thrilling and fulfilling life as an independent woman.

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Elizabeth (P&P) isn’t mooning over any guy in particular, at least not at first, but she dreams of a time that she will be married, and to someone she is intensely in love with. That’s why she turns down Mr. Collins, and is shocked that Charlotte would choose the security of Mr. Collins instead of love. Elinor and Marianne both have their own romantic fantasies. Elinor wishes and hopes for the love of Edward, while Marianne has this huge romantic vision of her dream man. Fanny has been mooing over Edmund ever since she was a young girl, and while she doesn’t presume they will marry, that doesn’t stop her from dreaming. Catherine loves romantic novels, so she has all kinds of dreams and views on what type of man she will marry one day. And Anne, well she wanted marry Fredrick, until she was convinced not to, and afterwards dreamed of him coming back and the two reuniting.

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3) Does Whatever She Wants

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Unlike the other characters, Emma is a bit selfish. After all, she was raised wealthy, with whatever she wants at the tip of her fingers. So she just does whatever she wants to. This causes some big problems as she doesn’t always think about how her actions affect others, or the repercussions. Thank goodness for Mr. Knightly to keeping her straight.

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Elizabeth never does what she wants as she is always worried about her sisters and keeping the younger ones straight, while protecting kind-hearted. After her father’s death, Elinor takes all responsibilities of the household and has to live her life taking care of everyone else. Fanny is too busy pleasing everyone as she doesn’t want to be kicked out of her house, and was raised to be subservient. Catherine doesn’t have the means or the personality to do whatever she wants as she has a large family, and is the daughter of a minister. Anne, is another one who is always trying to please everyone else, turning down the love of her life because of that.

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4) Doesn’t Like to Read

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Unlike any other Austen herione, Emma hates reading.

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She strives to improve it, but finds herself bored and turning to other amusements, such as meddling.

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This is strange as almost every other main character has a crucial scene that involves their thoughts on literature. In Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth is an avid reader, bringing about the scene in the library were she and Mr. Darcy compare their views on the subject. And of course Mr. Darcy saying that a truly accomplished woman must love reading. Marianne is a huge fan of poetry, romance, and Shakespeare. She rejects Edward as a potential suitor for Elinor as he doesn’t read that much, (implying that Elinor also enjoys reading). She believes that a man who doesn’t share her views on reading isn’t worthy enough, causing her to fall head over heels when Willoughby mentions his equal love of Shakespeare’s sonnets. In Mansfield Park, Fanny loves reading but not plays or the theater as she sees it as immoral. In fact she tries to stay out of the whole family putting on a show. In Northanger Abbey,the whole plot revolves around a girl reading so many novels, she ends up with an overactive imagination. In Persuasion, Anne loves reading poetry books, something that becomes a crucial part in the book. She starts showing a brokenhearted sailor more uplifting poems, bringing everyone to speculate whether or not there will be a future match there, along with causing Fredrick to realize that he loves Anne.

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5) Best Friend is a Man of no Relation

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Emma doesn’t have any girlfriends, just a governess until Harriet comes along who is more of a project than a friend. The only one she has to converse with and discuss her opinions on subjects is Mr. Knightly. This is very radical from the time period as unmarried women were not often hanging out and spending time with men who were not related to them. Emma gets around this as Mr. Knightley is considered her “father’s friend” by the community, even though in fact Mr. Knightley is her best friend.

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In Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth had her sister Jane and her best friend Charlotte. In Sense & Sensibility, the sisters are best friends. In Mansfield Park, Fanny’s best friend is a male, but it is her brother William. In Northanger Abbey, Catherine has Mrs. Allen, her sisters, and the fair-weather friend Isabella. In Persuasion, Anne has her mentor and old teacher.

As you can see none of these other characters would have ever thought to befriend a man who wasn’t related as it would have been scandalous, and only Emma is daring enough to go past society’s rules in a number of ways and do her own thing.

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When Jane Austen wrote Emma she set out to create a character very unlike anything we had seen from her before, and from the society of the times. Her differences may make her unlikeable to some, but I think it just makes her a more likable and entertaining character.

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For more on the book Emma, go to 200 Years of Glorious Emma

For more on Emma Woodhouse, go to Fashionably Postworthy

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A Bit Pottery About Jane Austen

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1000000000000 points for Gryffindor as it has Jane Austen in it. (Us poor Slytherins, we’ll never get house cup ever again). So this post was inspired by my ex. Last summer we were watching Sense and Sensibility (1995), as part of a deal we made, and he noticed that a lot of the same actors were in Harry Potter. So I, being the huge nerd I am, decided I would compile a list of actors who crossed over into both worlds.

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Alan Rickman as Severus Snape and Colonel Brandon

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So many of you out there know of Severus Snape the Potions instructor from Harry Potter. He is first depicted as a mean, bulling, horrible teacher who dislikes Harry with a fiery passion.

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Harry thinks Severus is a truly evil character, but it is later revealed that Snape is one that you can trust secretly helping and aiding Harry, working as a double agent against Voldemort.

Oh My Bad

He loved Harry’s mother Lily, and tried to do everything in his power to protect her. Loving her ’till he died.

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Well Alan Rickman played Severus Snape in all the Harry Potter films, and also played Colonel Brandon in Sense and Sensibility (1995).

Colonel Brandon is one of the best Austen heroes. He has such a sad backstory, but still remains kind and good-hearted. When he was younger he fell in love with a girl, but his father broke them up. He went on to India, but she went down an awful life as she fell in love with a man who left her alone and pregnant. She died young, but Brandon took care of her child, raising it as his own. He then falls for Marianne, not caring that she had no fortune, but instead loving her mind and spirit. He is rich and of high social standing, but doesn’t allow those customs to dictate the ways of his heart. He continues loving her and caring for her; even though all she thinks of him is an “old man” (he’s not too much older but she is only interested in men of her own age). And even though she may not care for him, he still loves her from afar and wishes her well.

So romantic!

So romantic!

 

When she is injured and caught in the rain, he carries her to safety. When she catches a cold and almost dies he travels a great distance to bring her mother to her. He is such a kind, generous, and one of the most amazing Austen men.

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Both are men who are absolutely romantic, continuing to love their first love and will do anything to help their children. Snape becomes a double agent to protect Harry, all without his knowing. Brandon cares for the daughter of his first love, treating her as if she was his own. They are just amazing characters that you can’t help but love them. Truth be told, I would marry either one.

For more on Snape go to Even After All This Time

For more on Col. Brandon go to It’s All Jane Austen’s Fault

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Elizabeth Spriggs who played the Fat Lady in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone also played Mrs. Jennings in Sense and Sensibility (1995).

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The Fat Lady is the portrait that guards the Gryffindor chamber. The kids have to give her the password before they are allowed in.

Mrs. Jennings is Lady Middleton’s mother, Sir John Middleton’s mother-in-law. She is kind and caring, always trying to send the Dashwoods extra food or inviting them to dinner as she knows the family has a fixed budget. She also invites the girls to join her for a season in London, knowing that they could never afford such a luxury. When stupid Willoughby breaks Marianne’s heart, Mrs. Jennings is in her camp and ready to skin him alive. However, her gossipy and meddlesome ways, does at times make her a difficult person to like all the time.

These two characters aren’t very similar, although they both like to state their views. After the first film, they change the Fat Lady, but I don’t care for those depictions as much as I liked Elizabeth Spriggs.

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Now the Sybill Trelawney costume is done so well that many of you probably didn’t recognize her. But Trelawney is played by Emma Thompson not only wrote the Sense and Sensibility screenplay, but also was one of the lead characters, Elinor Dashwood.

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Professor Trelawney is the divination teacher, and I have to side with McGonagall that I feel she makes up more than what she actually sees. But at times she does see things, such as she predicted the destruction of Voldemort. She also predicted the return of Peter Pettigrew and Voldemort.

Elinor is very different from Prof. Trelawney. Elinor is always sensible and quiet, keeping all her feelings and thoughts inside her head, never spouting them off. She is very serious as everything to keep the house going and family together falls on her.

This two are extremely different characters.

For more on Elinor Dashwood, go to On the 10th Day ‘Til Christmas

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Gemma Jones is Madam Pomfrey in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Half-Blood Prince, and Deathly Hallows Part 2. She also played Mrs. Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility (1995).

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In Deathly Hallows, Madame Pomfrey is a great healer. She is able to fix everything, from Hermione’s cat appearance to Harry’s broken arm. She is always in charge, cool, collected, and knows just what to do.

Mrs. Dashwood on the other hand is no where near the level of Madame Pomfrey. Truth be told we never see how she acts pre-grief, but after the death of her husband she loses it. Besides the grief/loss, she is also being kicked out of her home, losing everything she owned, forced to move, and is put in conditions she never thought she would be a part of. She does not cope well, both living in the past and doing nothing; leaving up everything for her daughter Elinor to take charge.

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Imelda Staunton as Dolores Unbridge in Harry Potter also plays Mrs. Charlotte Palmer.

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So as Dolores Umbridge she is evil incarnate. I mean the writing lines in your own blood? How horrifying! How does someone like this work around children? Seriously! And keeping Moody’s eye on her door like some great prize!!! What a, I can’t even say the words…just

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She deserved being beaten (or worse) by the centaurs. She def deserved it.

As Palmer though, she isn’t mean or evil, she is just very loud and prattles on ALL the time. You know the type that never shuts up. She is kind of annoying but you love her relationship with her husband (played by Hugh Laurie)

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Anyways, even though Charlotte can be annoying and never stops talking, much better than ugh, Umbridge.

Ugh

Ugh

Despicable Me Umbridge Harry Potter

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Robert Hardy played Fudge in Harry Potter and Sir John Middleton in Sense and Sensibility.

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Now as Fudge, he’s a horrible man. He chooses to be a little ostrich and keep his head in the sand rather than deal with the issues that are abounding. He is also extremely horrible in the way he tries to turn everyone against Harry. He brings dementors to the school and tries to kill Buckbeak. He then becomes so afraid of losing his job as Ministry of Magic that he goes crazy trying to make Dumbledore a villain.

While some find Sir John annoying I think he is a really nice guy. He can be a bit intrusive and a gossip, involving himself in other’s affairs (primarily Colonel Brandon’s love life), but he still has a kind and gentle heart. When the Dashwood’s are kicked out of their home, he lets them his cottage for a price far under what it is worth. Not only does he do that, but he invites them over to his house daily, supplying them with food and comfort far beyond their current abilty. He is fiercly loyal and caaring for his friends; standing by Colonel Brandon even when others say things about his rash behavior of breaking up the outing. He even forgives Willoughby after the whole Marianne issue.

These two guys couldn’t be more different.

For more on Sir John Middleton, go to Let’s Hear it For the Boys

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Ciaran Hinds playes Aberforth Dumbledore

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Now in the films we don’t really get a sense of who Albus is. He only comes in at the very end; helping Ron, Hermione, and Harry sneak into Hogwarts for the final battle. He ends up joining the last fight, even though he promised he would do nothing to help his brother as he still blames him for his sister’s death.

Similar to Persuasion, his character Fredrick Wentworth also knows how to hold a grudge. He is upset at Anne for having rejected him all those years ago, but unlike Albus, forgives her and the two reconcile. However, he is still adorable and wonderful.

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For more on Captain Frederick Wentworth, go to A Letter of Love

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Fiona Shaw was both Aunt Petunia in Harry Potter and Mrs. Croft in Persuasion (1995)

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Now here are two characters that couldn’t be more different. As Aunt Petunia, Shaw is just horrible. Petunia is a mean, jealous, cruel, abusive woman. She has always been jealous that her sister Lily had the powers and she had none, therefore unable to go to Hogwarts. She unleashes all her unhappiness and issues on her nephew; locking him in a cupboard, practically starving him, letting her child bully him, etc.

Mrs. Croft on the other hand totally rocks! Her and the Admiral’s relationship is so cute as you can see how much the two love each other, so much that Mrs. Croft refuses to stay on land when her husband is at sea, but travels with him as she hates for them to be parted. She also cares deeply about her brother and wants him to be happy. She tries to help him pick the right girl. She is so kind to Anne as well and becomes a dear friend to all.

For more on Mrs. Croft, go to A Frederick Wentworth Sighting

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Now Sophie Thompson is a real wonder, being in two Jane Austen films

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Now in the film Malfida Hopkirk doesn’t play as large a role as she did in the book. In the film she seems to be really a nothing character, only being there so Hermione has someone to change into when she, Harry, and Ron are breaking into the Ministry of Magic.

Now in Persuasion Thomas plays Mary Musgrove, not the most important character but still more crucial. Mary is Anne’s sister and horribly whiny and annoying. She’s like the Mrs. Bennet of Persuasion. She is the younger sister and has always been jealous of her eldest and pretty sister Elizabeth, and the nice, quiet, sensitive, sister, Anne. Whenever one of them gets attention she just goes on and on whining about how unfair it is.

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Ugh I hate her. I’ll be writing on her more later.

As Mrs. Bates she’s not much better. Mrs. Bates is a spinster and unlike Emma, she is poor and dependent on the help of others. She lives through her niece Jane, which subsequently means she will not stop talking about her. Everything makes her think of her, she continuously talks about how perfect she is, ugh so annoying.

Ugh

Ugh

But she is a nice woman, just lonely and unhappy so you can’t totally hate her. But you do understand why Emma has a low tolerance for Jane when she comes to live there.

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Guy Henry plays Pius Thicknesse in Harry Potter and John Knightly in Emma

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Now Pius played a bigger role in the books than they give him in the films. In fact, you hardly spend anytime seing him the film, making him pretty nonexistent.

He plays John Knightly in the Emma (1998). John is so annoying. He doesn’t care what anyone says only what he thinks is right. He is such a wet blanket and AWFUL I have a whole ‘nother post on him.

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For more on John Knightly, go to Take a Chill Pill John Knightly

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Mark Williams played Arthur Weasley, along with Sir John Middleton from Sense and Sensibility (2008)

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As Arthur Weasley, we have the purebred, albeit poor, wizard. He is deeply interested in muggle things and always asking questions on what is the purpose of this item or that one. He is utterly adorable!

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But don’t let that fool you. He still is a butt-kicking member of the Order of the Phoenix and will do anything in his power to take down Voldemort.

He also is a great father to not only his massive brood, but to Harry and Hermione as well.

Now Sir John is kind and adorable but often people find him annoying.  He can be a bit intrusive and a gossip, involving himself in other’s affairs (primarily Colonel Brandon’s love life). Now in this remake they toned it down from how active he was in the book and 1995 version, causing his mother-in-law to be the one who really is the busybody.

He is fiercly loyal and caaring for his friends; standing by Colonel Brandon even when others say things about his rash behavior of breaking up the outing. He even forgives Willoughby after the whole Marianne issue. One of the sweetest guys ever.

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Michael Gambon replaced the original Albus Dumbledore along with Mr. Woodhouse in Emma (2009)

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As Dumbledore, Gambon plays the extremely powerful professor, who has a ton of secrets and never reveals them to Harry Potter, even though most of them have to do with him. He is very wise and personable. Also  loved by all the students.

As Mr. Woodhouse, he’s completely different. After he lost his wife to illness, he shrunk as a man. He became very fearful; everything could cause issues and pain, like cake, going outside, etc.

The two are similar in that tragic deaths in their past changed them significantly, but unlike Mr. Woodhouse, Dumbledore isn’t afraid of the world, but afraid of himself.

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All this resulting in:

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and

MadamePomfreyProfessorTrew

and

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and

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and

SnapeFudge

and

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 For more on Emma, go to Part IX: Adventures in Movie Lines

For more on Persuasion, go to Part VII: It Was Said One Night

For more on Sense and Sensibility, go to Let’s Hear it For the Boys

The Real Revolutionary

So I was thinking today about how everyone says that Elizabeth Bennet, from Pride and Prejudice, “is revolutionary in that she actively rejects the conventions of the time in which it is written. Her determination to choose her own husband, using “rational” Love as her main criteria, deems her as a rebel of her time.”  But you know who the real revolutionary? Emma Woodhouse from Emma.

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Now I don’t want you to think that I’m denouncing the things Elizabeth stands for or her accomplishments at being a revolutionary character, but face it Emma is much more revolutionary.

Say What

Now most people forget about the revolutionary aspects of Emma’s character because they focus more on the love triangle, Emma’s meddling, etc. But in actuality Emma is a more revolutionary character.

Grease Tell Me more

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So first of all we have what Elizabeth is famous for, her decision not to marry Mr. Collins, but rather wait for love. She dreams of marrying one day to a man that completes her. As we can tell by Charlotte’s defense:

Charlotte-Lucas

Unlike Charlotte, Elizabeth is a romantic. She has an ideal, fairytale prince she is waiting for. She’s waiting for a highly practical and sensible one, but still waiting for her Mr. Right. Now this is revolutionary. Women lacked any options at all, they usually did only what their parents instructed of them. They married only for security, standing, and wealth. They tended to have very little happiness as their husbands would have mistresses and spend all their time with them, or involved in so many vices (gambling, drinking, drugs) etc. The book & TV show The Buccaneers, really shows the realistic side of marriage in the time (if you have Amazon Instant Watch you can watch it free).

Emma on the other hand rejects marriage. Granted, unlike Elizabeth, she has the money and power to support herself (her estate is not entailed); but still this is extremely revolutionary. She embraces the idea of being a spinster.OMG

I know right?

“I do so wonder, Miss Woodhouse, that you should not be married, or going to be married! so charming as you are!”—

Emma laughed, and replied,

“My being charming, Harriet, is not quite enough to induce me to marry; I must find other people charming—one other person at least. And I am not only, not going to be married, at present, but have very little intention of ever marrying at all.”

“Ah!—so you say; but I cannot believe it.”

“I must see somebody very superior to any one I have seen yet, to be tempted; Mr. Elton, you know, (recollecting herself,) is out of the question: and I do not wish to see any such person. I would rather not be tempted. I cannot really change for the better. If I were to marry, I must expect to repent it.”

Dear me!—it is so odd to hear a woman talk so!“—

“I have none of the usual inducements of women to marry. Were I to fall in love, indeed, it would be a different thing! but I never have been in love; it is not my way, or my nature; and I do not think I ever shall. And, without love, I am sure I should be a fool to change such a situation as mine. Fortune I do not want; employment I do not want; consequence I do not want: I believe few married women are half as much mistress of their husband’s house as I am of Hartfield; and never, never could I expect to be so truly beloved and important; so always first and always right in any man’s eyes as I am in my father’s.

“But then, to be an old maid at last, like Miss Bates!”

“That is as formidable an image as you could present, Harriet; and if I thought I should ever be like Miss Bates! so silly—so satisfied—so smiling—so prosing—so undistinguishing and unfastidious—and so apt to tell every thing relative to every body about me, I would marry to-morrow. But between us, I am convinced there never can be any likeness, except in being unmarried.”

“But still, you will be an old maid! and that’s so dreadful!”

“Never mind, Harriet, I shall not be a poor old maid; and it is poverty only which makes celibacy contemptible to a generous public! A single woman, with a very narrow income, must be a ridiculous, disagreeable old maid! the proper sport of boys and girls, but a single woman, of good fortune, is always respectable, and may be as sensible and pleasant as any body else. And the distinction is not quite so much against the candour and common sense of the world as appears at first; for a very narrow income has a tendency to contract the mind, and sour the temper. Those who can barely live, and who live perforce in a very small, and generally very inferior, society, may well be illiberal and cross. This does not apply, however, to Miss Bates; she is only too good natured and too silly to suit me; but, in general, she is very much to the taste of every body, though single and though poor. Poverty certainly has not contracted her mind: I really believe, if she had only a shilling in the world, she would be very likely to give away sixpence of it; and nobody is afraid of her: that is a great charm.”

“Dear me! but what shall you do? how shall you employ yourself when you grow old?”

“If I know myself, Harriet, mine is an active, busy mind, with a great many independent resources; and I do not perceive why I should be more in want of employment at forty or fifty than one-and-twenty. Woman’s usual occupations of hand and mind will be as open to me then as they are now; or with no important variation. If I draw less, I shall read more; if I give up music, I shall take to carpet-work. And as for objects of interest, objects for the affections, which is in truth the great point of inferiority, the want of which is really the great evil to be avoided in not marrying, I shall be very well off, with all the children of a sister I love so much, to care about. There will be enough of them, in all probability, to supply every sort of sensation that declining life can need. There will be enough for every hope and every fear; and though my attachment to none can equal that of a parent, it suits my ideas of comfort better than what is warmer and blinder. My nephews and nieces!—I shall often have a niece with me.”

You see Emma embraces the idea of spinsterhood, the very thing that Charlotte is afraid of and what causes her to marry Mr. Collins as a stupid man is seen as better than no man at all. Elizabeth isn’t afraid like Charlotte Lucas as she believes it will eventually happen, never considering what will happen if Mr. Right doesn’t come along. Emma on the other hand has the attitude of forget men, I don’t need them in my life, maybe one will come around that will cause me to think differently, but if I never experience love I will be A-okay.

Now this is HUGE for the times. Being a spinster was seen as beyond a horrible thing. It was a last result. It was the most deplorable thing a woman could amount to. But to Emma she doesn’t see it that way. She sees it an opportunity to live her life however she decides.

And when she finds out that Mr. Knightly might get with another person, she doesn’t wish that he would choose her instead, what she wishes is that nothing will change, that they will remain friends.

“Wish it she must, for his sake—be the consequence nothing to herself, but his remaining single all his life. Could she be secure of that, indeed, of his never marrying at all, she believed she should be perfectly satisfied.—Let him but continue the same Mr. Knightley to her and her father, the same Mr. Knightley to all the world; let Donwell and Hartfield lose none of their precious intercourse of friendship and confidence, and her peace would be fully secured.”

I think we have a clear winner here.

Miss Woodhouse (2009)

Miss Emma Woodhouse (2009)

 

Emma, the real revolutionary.

For more on Emma go to On the 10th Day ‘Til Christmas

For more on Pride & Prejudice go to Flu Season