The junior high teacher has step into the line up to present our read along chapters today, so get ready for something a bit different as I will be presenting the information in a fashion that is similar to how I would for my class — a few links, some reading, and some questions that I will try not to answer until the class has started to participate in discussion. (Lucky for you, there will be no quiz, test, project, or homework assignment following today’s discussion 😉 )
To set up today’s chapters, I thought I would share a few online resources with you to give you an idea of where the story is going. (These are great as prereading activities or follow-ups to your reading.) For each chapter, I have a summary copied from Spark Notes as well as a modern adaptation video clip of the ideas covered in the chapters. I have accompanied each item with a thought/question.
Just below the last video clip, you will find the link to the discussion on the Writer’s Block. This is where you will find several more questions intended to start our discussion.
If you need to the text for this book, you can find it here at this link: mollands.net (Link will take you directly to chapter 7.)
Summary: Chapter 7
Harriet receives a letter from Mr. Martin proposing marriage and goes directly to Emma to seek advice. Emma acts as if there is obviously no doubt that Harriet should not accept, and she proceeds to offer Harriet advice about the wording of her refusal. When it becomes clear that Harriet is doubtful about her answer, Emma becomes somewhat cold and disingenuously states, “I shall not give you any advice, Harriet. . . . This is a point which you must settle with your own feelings.” When, under Emma’s subtle guidance, Harriet states that she will probably reject Mr. Martin, Emma immediately congratulates her friend on having made the right decision and points out that if Harriet had accepted him, then Emma would no longer be able to be her friend. Harriet immediately affirms that the loss of Emma is unthinkable, and the two of them draft a letter refusing the proposal. It is clear that Harriet is pained by her decision and cares for Mr. Martin, but Emma cheers her up with reminders of Mr. Elton. (from Sparknotes.com)
Thought: The summary says that Emma’s advice is disingenuous and that she becomes somewhat cold to Harriet. Do you agree with this assessment of the conversation?
Thought: I found it interesting how Emma shows Martin as unworthy or of a lower standing in a modern way based on career goals and achievements. What things did you find interesting about the modernization of this Emma scene? Do you think that it is an accurate portrayal of what happened in Jane Austen’s work?
Summary: Chapter 8
With Harriet at Mrs. Goddard’s preparing for an extended visit to Hartfield, Mr. Knightley and Emma have the opportunity for a lengthy conversation about Harriet and Mr. Martin. Knightley reveals that Mr. Martin has consulted him about proposing to Harriet, and Mr. Knightley makes it clear that he supports the match. Emma informs him that the proposal has already been made and rejected, and she insists that Mr. Martin is not Harriet’s equal. Knightley very nearly loses his temper, and he insists upon Mr. Martin’s superiority to Harriet in sense and “true gentility.” Knightley is especially displeased by what he immediately guesses was Emma’s role in the rejection, and he states flatly, “You have been no friend to Harriet Smith.” Emma counters that Harriet’s beauty and good temper, along with the possibility that she is the daughter of a gentleman, make her a desirable match. Knightley tells Emma that if she thinks Mr. Elton will marry Harriet, she is wrong, because Elton will only marry a woman with money. Vexed with one another, Emma and Knightley part ways. Emma is comforted by the return of Harriet, who has heard a rumor that Elton is on an important errand regarding a lady. (From Sparknotes.com)
Thought: “You have been no friend to Harriet Smith.” Do you agree or disagree with Mr. Knightley?
Thought: This may be exactly the sentiment that fuels Emma’s meddling in Jane Austen’s work–“I just want what is best for Harriet.” What do you think? Does Emma want what is best for Harriet or just what is best for Emma?
If you haven’t read the chapters, now would be the time to do that. Again the text can be found here: mollands.net
And if you prefer audio, a free audio version can be found here: librivox.org
Join us for the discussion on the Writer’s Block.