In Jane Austen’s time, every woman’s key route to success was marriage. Women were advised to improve their social status by marrying a man of superior status. Women in those times were discouraged from pursuing a career and living independent life.
Although Jane Austen was a part of the same society where marriage was a significant phase of every woman’s life, she was not enthused by the idea of marriage. She rather engaged herself in writing numerous masterpieces like ‘Pride and Prejudice,’ ‘Sense and Sensibility,’ ‘Persuasion’ and much more. Her literary works are a gem that has been preserved ever since.
Emma, written by Jane Austen, is a classic and humorous novel that was first published in December 1815 by John Murray. Jane Austen dedicated this novel to Prince Regent. Like most of Jane Austen’s literary works, ‘Emma,’ too, is a satire on marriages where two people are united only by class and community. This novel hilariously highlights the theme of marriage and social status.
The title of the book ‘Emma’ is the name of the protagonist of the book. The novel revolves around a young, beautiful, and witty lady, Emma Woodhouse, who possesses an exquisite matchmaking talent.
After attaining her friend and former governess of Hartfield, Miss Taylor’s marriage, to a prestigious man, Mr. Weston, she gets further gripped into the pleasurable chore of matchmaking. Her triumph in uniting people builds up a new interest in her mind of connecting her friend, Harriet Smith, to Mr.Elton, a vicar. George Knightley, a close friend of Emma, attempts to persuade Emma to withdraw from the idea, but her ears turn deaf to all his advice. Emma succeeds in convincing Harriet that Robert Martin, a respectable farmer, is not the correct man for her.
Under the guidance of Emma, Harriet refuses Robert’s proposal, against her will. While Emma attempts to get Harriet and Mr. Elton closer, he falls for Emma, and instead of Harriet proposes to Emma.
When Emma informs him that she had thought him to be attached to Harriet, he feels dejected and leaves the town for a week. He returns with a flamboyant, boastful, and charming wife. Harriet’s heart breaks when Emma reveals the entire truth to her, and Emma herself feels disheartened about misleading her friend.
Frank Churchill, Mr. Weston’s son, arrives to visit his father and makes many friends in Highbury, including Emma and Harriet. George discovers Frank to be a very trivial person and warns Emma of the same, but she doesn’t heed his words.
Jane Fairfax, an orphan, comes to stay with her aunt, Miss Bates, for a month. Her presence discomforts Emma. Emma envies her virtues and always feels annoyed when people always admired Jane.
Major chaos occurs when Emma mistakes Harriet and Frank Churchill to be in love with each other, and she gets back into her matchmaking task. Hopes shatter again when it is revealed that Frank and Jane were secretly engaged and loved each other. Emma feels sorry for Harriet and, with great courage, informs Harriet about Frank’s secret engagement. Meanwhile, Harriet confesses her love for George rather than Frank, and immediately Emma realizes that she too loved George. Will George ever discover Emma’s feelings for him, or will Emma declare her love for George? Whom will Harriet marry at the end, Robert or George? A series of boundless questions flow continuously in the minds of the readers while reading this book.
Through this novel, Jane Austen has very hilariously brought out the relevance of every class and rank differences in society. The language used throughout the book is very straightforward. The balance between the jovial and gloomy scenes has been flawlessly preserved. Though the introduction of numerous characters builds up the plot’s humor, too many characters make the book a little complex for the readers to comprehend.
The originality has been perfectly maintained in the description of characters and landscapes and the dialogues. Irrelevant and extended descriptions have been avoided that facilitate the reader to maintain the book’s smooth flow.
The comical events within the book make it enjoyable. The book’s plot is remarkable and engaging, especially the way Emma Woodhouse creates chaos by blindly following her vivid imagination. The book’s tone makes the reader feel connected to all the characters and compels the reader into flipping the pages without a pause until they finish the entire book.