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Discussion Post: Emma Chapters 1-18

Okay, so the subject lies. I only got to 14 before my eyes started crossing. (I want a normal job where I get the weekends off. ;_;)

So, you know, feel free to jump in and fill in the huge gaping blanks I leave behind.



Okay, so to start this off with a little anecdote. When I was in high school, there was this family that lived next door to us. The mom and the dad were some kind of computer programmers and as a result, on the geekier side of life. They had a son, who pretty much took after them, and then they adopted a little girl from Guatemala. Where they were introverted and shy, she was gregarious and extroverted. Where they were calm and laid back and weren't into creating waves, she was hyper and active and mischievous.

In a way, Emma's much the same in her family. XD

1) The Mr. Woodhouse and Isabella's hypochondriac tendencies amuse me to no end. I love how attached they are to their doctors. (And that whole argument where Mr. Woodhouse just uses Mr. Perry as a mouthpiece for his feelings? XD *snickers* I love that Mr. John Knightly calls him on it. ^_^) I love the way Mr. Woodhouse tries to convince everyone that they'd be better off eating gruel at every meal. XD Kind of like the way my grandmother always tries to serve and make food that is fat-free (and thus taste-free) because it's better for everyone...

2) What the freaking hell is the other Knightly brother's name? Other than Mr. Knightly? X_x I must stop skimming so fast one of these days. I love his dead on way of regarding Emma and I love that he sees right through her. *snickers* I love that he's not blinded by her beauty and that he sees all her faults. I love too, that he doesn't just roll over and give into her when she's wrong like everyone else around her does. It may bug the crap out of her, but someone that spoiled so needs someone to ground her.

3) I kept slashing Mr. Elton with his friend Cole in my head (they strolled arm in arm somewhere in that, I'm sure.) because I found him completely annoying. (And hey, he seemed rather happy about that week he got snowed in with Mr. Cole...you see what you want to see, I'll see what I want to see. XD) ...He's the vicar too, isn't he? *confused*

4) I love that Emma is as dense as a post where Mr. Elton is concerned. She's all 'He's SO in love with Harriet!' when I'm sure he has difficulties recalling Harriet's name once she's walked out of the room.

5) It's a good thing that there is a foundation of kindness and sweetness and general caring towards family and friends in Emma or her attempts to manipulate Harriet and convince her of her superiority would bug the crap out of me. (Of course, this might be because I've watched my cousins pull similar crap on my brother. They'll convince him that the girl who is totally out of his league or totally uninterested in him, is head over heels for him. And then they kind of just step back and watch him crash and burn with said chick when he makes the move they've spent all their energy encouraging him to make.) Of course, it's pretty easy to assume that her plans where Harriet is concerned are going to totally blow up in her face like woah, so it makes for interesting reading too. I love how she has this entire world mapped out in her head and how she's going to go about making everything come out to her liking, and you can't help but just chuckle at it. XD I like how a) far removed from actual reality it is and b) her absolute certainty that things will turn out exactly as she's planned and manipulated them to be.

She would have made an excellent senator? Either way, reading what lengths she goes to, I can't help but think she does so cause she's bored out of her mind. Most likely, that's just my take on it, but on top of always being given her way in things, I just don't think she ever had enough going on to really engage her. Kinda like that super genius kid in school who set things on fire because they were bored and should have been skipped up a couple grades.

Granted, I don't ever want to do anything hugely grand with my life, and I might very well be content to stay at home and have babies, but in Regency England? Dude, it's just kind of stifling. I would choose those things because I would want to choose them, not because there was simply nothing else to do or any other avenue to explore. (You kind of get the impression with these stories that getting married is the highlight of a woman's life. Your sole purpose in life would be to procure yourself a good marriage, hopefully to some high class guy of wealth or who wasn't a gold digger after your wealth. And once you take the plunge and get hitched? The rest is pretty much downhill from there, excitement-wise...Possibly, this is why they're so into gossip. X_x Although, I did love the refs of Mr. Woodhouse eagerly participating in a good round of gossip with the schoolmarms and the spinster Bates's.)

6) I've read Sense and Sensibility and I've only watched A&E's miniseries on Pride and Prejudice, but comparing the papas of those two with Mr. Woodhouse in this...they're indulgent, kind hearted and obviously have a soft spot for their daughters (or at least, the daughter protagonist), but at the end of the day, they're all kind of...ineffectual? I mean, I rather love that they're so amiable and doting. Definitely overturns some of the stereotypes I've had of the times from all the cheap trashy novels I've read, but still. When it comes to protecting their daughters or helping in their romantic entanglements or in making their matches, they're pretty much useless. (Granted, in S and S, in all fairness, the papa dies in the first couple chapters, but still...he leaves them virtually unprovided for and living off the goodwill of a son with an ego the size of Mount Rushmore.) Instead of being any kind of example of what to look for in a man or any kind of bridge between female and male and trying to demystify the whole difference of the sensibilities of the sexes, they're more...comic relief. They're just not the mentors or mediators in these kind of affairs that my father was for me in my eyes. If anything, the female protagonist often seems to be the one carrying the family and subtly leading the family as the head of the house. Maybe it's a facet of Regency England? Or of Austen? Of my crappy reading capabilities?

So...your thoughts? (Feel free to explain all the things I'm missing in either ignorance or exhaustion...) ^_^;;

OMG, I'm so behind on all things lj. I'm only posting this right now because I work the morning/day shift tomorrow and won't be home until around 4:30. X_x;; *sigh*

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
mechante_fille
Feb. 24th, 2008 03:54 pm (UTC)
Ah, I must admit to a good bit of speed-reading myself. So much to read, so little time...

1) Hee!! Mr. Woodhouse is funny with his concerns, both for himself and everyone else.

2) I don't think he has a name. It was not given when he was introduced. Interesting choice of Austen's... maybe to throw us off the scent. Also, his age, 38, is... an interesting choice. It is like when I read Rebecca of Sunnybrook Fary only to find that, unlike in the Shirley Temple version, the rich neighbor sets his sights on Rebecca, not her older cousin. Dude...

3&4)Ahaha! What is book club without some slashing? Mr. Elton is the vicar, yeah? And he did seem awfully happy with the snow in. Oh, just wait until you get to read about him 'making violent love' to Emma, though. I don't believe you have read that far, yet. ^_^

5) I totally agree with the bored. And annoying. And spoiled. Mr. Knightly is soon to take Mrs. Weston rather to task for helping to create the monster that is Emma. Did you see the part where they decide it would be good for her to get crush on someone who doesn't return her regard? Builds character. Looks like Mr. Frank Churchill might fill that role, whether he ever shows up or not. Interesting that when talking with Mrs. Weston, she says he should be able to come if he really wanted to, but when Mr. Knightly dares speak against him, she comes to his defense. Hm...

Speaking of her limited circumstances in Regency England, though, in her defense of Frank, she tells Mr. Knightly that he is one of a very few who can pretty much do what he wants with no one to answer to. She doesn't seem upset by this; it is just reality. I suppose not being able to imagine anything different probably made the limited opportunities less stifling. Hence the importance of practical boarding schools that wouldn't send you home too smart.

6) It's like the Disney dads. Like Jasmine's dad, and Beauty's dad. We can't have a nice fairy tale with a mean dad, but if they were both nice and effectual, the daughters wouldn't be in the predicaments they are in. So instead they become short, round comedic characters who you can't help but love, but who do no one any good until their one moment to shine. Austen probably did it for the same reason. The choice is an evil dad, or a silly one. Silly makes for a happier story, in the end.

Oh, book club icon, how I've missed you. Though, your teasing beach scene is so cruel in this winterscape. *sigh*
skylark97
Feb. 27th, 2008 08:41 pm (UTC)
2) The age...it's kinda like that in most of her books? In Sense and Sensibility, the difference between Brandon and the sister he falls for is at least fifteen years, and she's sixteen at the beginning of the book, I think. It might be more the time period than Austen, per se. I think she has in there somewhere in one of these books, the thought that men won't propose marriage until they're fully independent and established, and that's usually when they've hit 30 or 35. But you know, if you're a chick and you've not married by the time you've hit 28 you're an old maid and unmarryable...Or something. ^_^;;

3&4) Yeah, so haven't read that far yet. XD *snickers* He just desperately trying to convince himself that he's not head over heels in love with Cole.

5) She doesn't seem upset by this; it is just reality. I suppose not being able to imagine anything different probably made the limited opportunities less stifling. Hence the importance of practical boarding schools that wouldn't send you home too smart.

There is that. I suppose it's harder to miss what you don't know.

6) XD *dies* Disney dads? That's got to be the best explanation and description ever. *snickers* You rock. XD
mechante_fille
Feb. 27th, 2008 11:40 pm (UTC)
I know... and I'm really not one to talk, either. ;) I don't remember how old Rebecca was supposed to be... (okay, I just skimmed through much of it on Guetenburg, and find I remember nothing. Huh. Anyway, at the beginning, Rebecca is described by the coach driver as being around 10, and looking younger, and 6 years later, at the end of the book, Adam Ladd is 34. And still waiting. I'm still weirded out on how nothing seemed familiar.)

So, speaking of not reading that far yet: it seems few people have. Should we consider doing an 'amnesty' catch up week, or just try to go on with the show? What would work best for you? I personally haven't started this week's reading yet.
skylark97
Feb. 27th, 2008 11:43 pm (UTC)
I've never tried to read Rebecca...and I have to say now, I'm a little weirded out. XD *snickers* I may have to try it just so that I know all the particulars of what you're talking about.

Amnesty week sounds grand to me. I still haven't caught up on those four chapters that I missed last week. ^_^;;
anialove
Feb. 25th, 2008 03:25 am (UTC)
Okay, so I didn't finish the reading assignment either, since I'm also doing reading assignments for college. (Malory, you wonderful kook, just how many swords did Balin have?) [s]I did re-watch Clueless. I love that movie so much.[/s]

I rather like Emma. She's naive and spoiled, but still manages to be sweet. She believes too strongly in Harriet's good qualities, but she isn't utterly condescending as she might be.

Also, Mr. Kingley's conversations with her are fantastic. His logic phails in the face of her irrational worldview.

. . . I can't remember my other thoughts. The ten chapters I read were all on Tuesday.
skylark97
Feb. 27th, 2008 08:43 pm (UTC)
Hey, RL gets in the way and that you're reading while trying to maneuver through other assignments for school? *_* That's pretty damn impressive.

It's her major saving grace. She really does mean well, and you can't get too mad at her for trying to make the people around her happy. ^_^

XD I LOVE their conversations. They crack me up. You are so right. I get the impression he spends most of the conversation thinking, 'how the hell can I say this so that it actually penetrates through the imaginary world barrier she's erected?'. *cough* Or you know, something. XD)

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