Friday, July 24, 2009

A Character Only Austen Could Love

36. Emma by Jane Austen

This is only my second reading of Emma, with good reason. Though I did not despise the book or the character quite as much this time, I am very glad to be done with it (Sort of, I still have a paper to write...). Perhaps it is too long for a Jane Austen novel, or perhaps it's the fact that it's the only Austen novel where the characters remain in the same setting for the entire novel. I think it also has the smallest cast of characters. But the greatest problem is that none, or few, of these characters are likable. And if there is a villain, it is Emma herself.

My favorite characters were the ridiculous characters, the "valetudinarian" Mr. Woodhouse, and the infuriatingly talkative Miss Bates. I amused myself with their antics, particularly in the latter half, when Miss Bates' chatter gives hints to important plot development. Mr. Knightley, though I resented his Darcy-like condescension and superiority, especially in the beginning, I admit is much more of a truly kind and stand-up gentleman than Emma deserves. I warmed to Emma a bit at the end, and she is very kind to her father, but she's so selfish and prejudiced and ignorant...

This book has really only given me a great desire to see Clueless, which we watched clips of in class. It will be interesting to compare, and, I conjecture, not nearly as tedious.

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