Reviewed by Marina Chernysheva
When I was choosing what book to read I thought of “Emma”. I’ve heard about Jane Austen before, but I haven’t read any books. I am not keen on reading novels and I decided to try something new. It is difficult to say if I liked this book. It is so different from the books I usually read. But anyway I would like to express my judgment.
The main character of this novel is Emma Woodhouse – a pretty, intelligent and extraordinary girl. She is a daughter of a rich landowner, so she is well-to-do and educated. However, Emma has a hobby – when she is trying to diversify her leisure time, she helps her less fortunate girlfriends establish their personal life, gives advice untiringly, adjusts “random” meetings…
One of the few people who can see Emma’s disadvantages and the only one who talks of them is Mr Knightley, a close friend of her family. His brother is married to Emma’s sister, so he is like a family member and he spends much time with Emma and her father. He loves to preach at her and to give a couple of tips as Emma’s father is really babyish. Mr Knightley isn’t married and has a clear view of how Emma should behave. For example, he believes that Emma shouldn’t engage in matchmaking, and shouldn’t communicate with Harriet, a seventeen- year- old girl who doesn’t have any money or connections, but who is willing to follow any advice from “dear Miss Woodhouse”. Emma really wants to help Harriet find happiness, but how can she help her if Harriet doesn’t know what she wants?
So Emma is sure that Harriet can find her happiness marrying Elton without realizing that he would never marry a girl with a low parentage.
Harriet falls in love with Mr Knightley, and tells Emma that Mr Knightley seems to be in love with Harriet, too. After Harriet’s confession, Emma understands that she loves Mr Knightley…
Emma is clever but at the same time she is a bit spoiled and selfish and sometimes she misunderstands people’s feelings and actions which puts those people to trouble.
She considers that if a woman belongs to a high society, it is not necessary for her to marry. Before her own love experience with Mr Knightley her attitude to marriage was typical of a daughter of the ruling class.
Jane Austen is interested in personal relationships, what actually this or that person is like. Her characters are complicated and their inner world is revealing gradually. The author doesn’t intend to confuse her readers but is willing to show that even though we feel we know people well their behavior can be quite unexpected in some situations.
I don’t think that “Emma” will be thrilling for teenagers (especially boys) – there aren’t any action or fantastic scenes, but those who are interested in people’s feelings and emotions, the history of England in the 19-th century will be delighted.