Sunday, March 14, 2010

Emma: Reading Notes

It's been interesting rereading Emma at such a slow (maybe leisurely would sound better) pace that I feel like I'm noticing things I'd never picked up on before.

Like how big of a jerk Emma is to Harriet! I mean I knew that she was self-centered but I think I just glossed over how amazingly snotty Emma is. You always hear that quote from Jane Austen about thinking no one will like Emma and I see why she was worried. Here is Emma telling Harriet how low Mr. Martin is:

"I should be surprized if, after seeing them, you could be in company with Mr. Martin again without perceiving him to be a very inferior creature--and rather wondering at yourself for having ever thought him at all agreeable before. Do not you begin to feel that now? Were not you struck? I am sure you must have been struck by his awkward look and abrupt manner, and the uncouthness of a voice which I heard to be wholly unmodulated as I stood here." (p.43)

She's certainly not shy! I guess it just goes to Austen's writing ability that I still like Emma in spite of her arrogance. I really was giggling reading Mr. Knightley and Mrs. Weston "arguing" about Emma's new interest in Harriet. I love Mr. Knightley's description of Emma's reading plans. I so relate to making reading plans, and really plans for all kinds of self-improvement, and never following through with them.

"Emma has been meaning to read more ever since she was twelve years old. I have seen a great many lists of her drawing-up at various times of books that she meant to read regularly through--and very good lists they were--very well chosen, and very neatly arranged--sometimes alphabetically, and sometimes by some other rule. The list she drew up when only fourteen--I remember thinking it did her judgment so much credit, that I preserved it some time; and I dare say she may have made out a very good list now. But I have done with expecting any course of steady reading from Emma. She will never submit to any thing requiring industry and patience, and a subjection of the fancy to the understanding. Where Miss Taylor failed to stimulate, I may safely affirm that Harriet Smith will do nothing.-- You never could persuade her to read half so much as you wished.--You know you could not." (p.47)

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