Emma Woodhouse—Protagonist of the novel; youngest daughter of Mr. Woodhouse and his deceased wife; sister of Isabella Woodhouse Knightley; mistress of Hartfield estate.
Widely considered her finest work, Austen's Emma once again deals with social mores, particularly those dealing with ethical actions and social status. This paper focuses on how Austen uses the figure of George Knightley to propose a new English Gentleman Ideal to criticize the strictures regarding the role of women and the skewed relationship between the sexes.
In the first part, this paper looks at the social world of England in the early 19th centuryin which Austen lived. It then compares the reality of these conditions with the seemingly idyllic settings Austen portrayed in novels like Emma. The second part of the paper then examines Austen's redefinitions of the ideal English gentleman, as embodied by Mr.
Despite the expected happy ending, this paper argues that Austen presents George Knightley as a gentleman who is both socially upright, an ideal marriage partner for Emma Woodhouse. By "quitting Donwell and sacrificing a great deal of independence of hours and habits," Austen portrays Mr.
Knightley as a person who, in his own way, understands and accommodates the changing roles of women in society. England in Jane Austen's time Jane Austen's life spanned the late 18th to early 19th centuries.
She was born on December 16,in Steventon, a small town in the English province of Hampshire. The effects of the French Revolution, following "reign of terror" were sweeping through England.
The American colonies were waging a war for independence. The Industrial Revolution provided new employment opportunities and caused a stream of movement between the rural countryside and the cities. The new political and technological upheavals, however, did not necessarily translate to changes in the status of women.
Until well into the midth century, most English women still worked in agriculture.
In addition to farm work like feeding animals, milking cows and preparing hay, countrywomen also took care of domestic works and care taking. In the cities, most women were confined to the traditional occupations like seamstress, embroidery or millinery. Unskilled women, however, worked in undesirable occupations like chimneysweeps and butchers.
The most common unskilled occupation, however, was working as a prostitute. Inthere were an estimated 70, prostitutes out of a population ofTowards the end of the 18th century, women were deemed incapable of too much education, limiting the teachings to social graces like dancing, piano-playing and French language lessons.
Those with limited education from ladies' academies sought work as governesses. In some instances, such as Austen's, women from polite society turned to writing, which was one of the few occupations open to respectable members of the gentry.
Otherwise, women's lives were to revolve around their husbands, the home and family. For many women of the late 18th and early 19th century, the object was to marry well. The rest would grow into spinsterhood, destined to become wards of their wealthier male relatives.
Marrying well was prized because it brought women financial security. The laws of primogeniture prohibited women from inheriting property from their families.
Thus, even women from relatively wealthy families stood to lose their property upon the death of their fathers. Austen touched on the unfair effects of this law on the Bennett girls in Pride and Prejudice and the Dashwoods in Sense and Sensibility, although this same restriction was not applied to Emma Woodhouse.
Peasant women could still find husbands if they proved sturdy and hard working. Middle-class women, on the other hand, needed to have social skills and pleasing personalities. In Emma, part of the heroine's flaws was her strong "masculine spirit," which was a stark contrast to Isabella, the quiet and indulgent mother who was the "model of right feminine happiness.
Knightley observes that the heroine was "preparing her self to be an excellent wife all the time she was at Hartfield Because of poor nutrition and hygiene, however, one in every four pregnancies ended in miscarriages. Infant mortality was high as many more babies succumbed to malnutrition and infection.
Health problems like tuberculosis further added to the child and infant mortality. Seen in this light, the preferences for virginity, abstinence and even spinsterhood, which Austen portrayed in her novels and chose in real life, are also largely informed by 18th and 19th century physical and health concerns.
However, England was not immune to the social and scientific upheavals sweeping throughout Europe. Scientific advances brought new understandings on nutrition, health and hygiene. This contributed to increased fertility among women, resulting in more births and healthier children.
The social upheavals in France and the waning influence of the Catholic Church meant more young women engaged in sexual activity and a concomitant rise in the illegitimacy rate.
Perhaps the biggest advantage of these changes for Austen was a growing respect for novel writing.SOCIETY.
It is debatable whether the society that Austen depicts in Highbury is a realistic portrait of the society which she lived in or whether it is an idealized portrait of society as it should or perhaps could be.
, like Mrs. Weston and Jane Fairfax. Emma learned the need for right conduct after Mr. Knightley's rebuke at Box Hill and. Start studying Jane Austen's Emma Ch.
Learn vocabulary, terms, and more with flashcards, games, and other study tools. Jane Austen’s plots are often repeated in romance novels through the decades.
For example, in Pride & Prejudice, the plot revolves around a case of mistaken first impressions. The principal characters start out with an aversion to one another only to discover that they are actually attracted to one another. Emma employs a pedagogic.
Download-Theses Mercredi 10 juin Jane Austen is one of the most famous women writers of the nineteenth century. Her novels Pride and Prejudice (), Emma (), and Persuasion () deal with the position of women and their social expectations, most of which are related to marriage.
Jane Austen Society of Australia president Suzannah Fullerton says Austen’s novels continue to be popular because she had a “wonderful” understanding of human nature.