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Emma Chapters 11 & 12
Emma Volume I, Chapters III & IV: Quotes, Questions, and Conversation.
August 9, 2016
6:02 AM
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Welcome to another Wednesday Read Along!

So, what do you think of Chapters 11 & 12? I must admit that I find Mr Woodhouse and Isabella SOOOOO irritating! One of them is bad enough, but TWO!! Going on and on about health, sea-air, gruel and Mr Wingfield Vs. Mr Perry! No wonder that Mr John Knightley looses his cool at one point. Nothing new under the sun, then 😉 People travel for miles to spend the holidays with the family, but before long sparks are bound to fly.

I do love the conversation between Emma and the elder brother though. And the little snippet in the Mark Strong – Kate Beckinsale adaptation, when Mr John Knightley says that the maternal pose suits her (Awwww! Little does he know).

So, what do you think of the family gathering so far?

August 10, 2016
10:14 AM
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Leenie
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I had a Mr. Palmer moment when reading….”If only you would stop” 🙂 Poor Mr. John Knightley!  I can imagine his patience wore thin with two such people to deal with and questioning his ability to be a good husband and father! I don’t blame him for his loss of patience at all.  

I must say I was back to feeling sorry for Emma here! (Although I am still upset with her regarding Mr. Martin) How tiring it must be to constantly be trying to avoid unpleasant conversations and disagreements! She works so hard to keep everything “happy.” 

August 10, 2016
10:26 AM
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December 27, 2014
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Hi Joana! I’ve got my tea and (imaginary) crumpet and I’m ready to roll on another dose of Emma.

I’m loving this book more than ever this time around. The read along has made me slow down from my usual frantic reading pace and enjoy the scenery a bit more, and yes, that scenery gets a bit annoying with the arrival of the London Knightleys. It’s not surprising that as Isabella’s husband John Knightley is less tolerant of the foibles she and Mr. Woodhouse share than a daughter would be. His home life would be rather wretched if he indulged Isabella’s neurosis like Emma does Mr. Woodhouse’s, and my favorite thing about John Knightley is he is such a family man. We don’t have many of his ilk in Austen. Maybe Mr. Morland. Definitely Sir Thomas Bertram. Most of Austen’s fathers are like Mr. Woodhouse and fulfill their rolls as patriarchs and protectors most inadequately. Not so John Knightley. He loves and dotes on children and wife, and for that I forgive him much. 

I think the broad point Austen is making in her introduction of John and Isabella is that neither is the equal of their sibling. At the dinner table, it is Emma and Mr. Knightley who maintain the familial harmony while all the others are apparently oblivious to its needs. Yet despite Mr. Woodhouse whining, Isabella’s fretting, and John Knightley poking the bear, these are rather cozy, throughly domestic scenes, aren’t they? It reminds me of many a family dinner, during which relations might pick at each other a bit but we all enjoy each others company, nonetheless. They are all blatantly happy to be together. I find the relationship between the brothers particularly touching. Love this line:

This had just taken place and with great cordiality, when John Knightley made his appearance, and “How d’ye do, George?” and “John, how are you?” succeeded in the true English style, burying under a calmness that seemed all but indifference, the real attachment which would have led either of them, if requisite, to do every thing for the good of the other. 

Order is reestablished. Emma and Knightley are “friends” once more, and Emma’s priorities are refocused on her intimate circle. It feels like the calm before the storm, does it not?

August 10, 2016
12:18 PM
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rebecca jamison
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I love the comradery of Emma and Mr. Knightley here. It’s their making up scene. They aren’t in agreement at all about Emma’s treatment of Mr. Martin, but they can joke a little about why they can’t agree. Then they come together to prevent an argument from breaking out between Mr. Woodhouse and John Knightley. I love how they’re both constantly changing the subject in these scenes of dialogue. They’re on the same side again. We’re seeing their loving, kind, tactful, family sides. I can’t help admiring both of them and thinking they’re made for each other.

August 10, 2016
3:56 PM
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Leenie – I had thoughts of Mr. Palmer, too! John Knightley is a bit nicer I think. More of how Mr. Palmer comes off in the Hugh Laurie/1995 S&S. It’s not completely faithful to the book, but I like how they made him softer in that version. 

August 10, 2016
4:27 PM
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Alexa — that is the version of Mr. Palmer I envisioned. (I could not remember the actor’s name or the year of the movie…names and numbers….not easily remembered here 🙂 )