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Emma Chapters 5 & 6
Emma Volume I, Chapters V & VI
July 19, 2016
3:38 AM
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So did chapter five change your perspective of Miss Woodhouse? What is going on with Mr. Elton? So much to discuss!

Featured Quotes:

“But I,” he soon added, “who have had no such charm thrown over my senses, must still see, hear, and remember. Emma is spoiled by being the cleverest of her family. At ten years old, she had the misfortune of being able to answer questions which puzzled her sister at seventeen. She was always quick and assured: Isabella slow and diffident. And ever since she was twelve, Emma has been mistress of the house and of you all. In her mother she lost the only person able to cope with her. She inherits her mother’s talents, and must have been under subjection to her.”

Does Mr. Knightley really not have a “charm thrown over [his] senses,” or might he be deceiving himself? Mrs. Weston has little difficulty distracting him from his point when they discuss Emma’s physical person. Just saying.

 

“I know that you all love her really too well to be unjust or unkind; but excuse me, Mr. Knightley, if I take the liberty (I consider myself, you know, as having somewhat of the privilege of speech that Emma’s mother might have had) the liberty of hinting that I do not think any possible good can arise from Harriet Smith’s intimacy being made a matter of much discussion among you. Pray excuse me; but supposing any little inconvenience may be apprehended from the intimacy, it cannot be expected that Emma, accountable to nobody but her father, who perfectly approves the acquaintance, should put an end to it, so long as it is a source of pleasure to herself. It has been so many years my province to give advice, that you cannot be surprized, Mr. Knightley, at this little remains of office.”

There is so much to learn of Mrs. Weston’s character in this speech! What do you make of her?

 

She had always wanted to do every thing, and had made more progress both in drawing and music than many might have done with so little labour as she would ever submit to. She played and sang;—and drew in almost every style; but steadiness had always been wanting; and in nothing had she approached the degree of excellence which she would have been glad to command, and ought not to have failed of. She was not much deceived as to her own skill either as an artist or a musician, but she was not unwilling to have others deceived, or sorry to know her reputation for accomplishment often higher than it deserved.

Is Emma a dilettante? 

 

Please share your own questions, responses, quotes, and whatever so moves you by clicking the “Add Reply” button at the bottom of the thread. If you need a copy of the text, there’s a lovely one at Mollands.net: http://mollands.net/etexts/emma/emma5.html

July 20, 2016
9:05 AM
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Rebecca Jamison
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I love the theme of advice that’s begun to appear–Emma advising Harriet, Mrs. Weston advising Mr. Knightley, and Mr. Knightley advising Mrs. Weston and Emma. It’s fun to see what works and what ends in disaster.

July 20, 2016
1:09 PM
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I really love the conversation between Mr Knightley and Mrs Weston about Emma, Harriet’s influence etc. IMO we do get to have our opinion of Emma softened a little, through the eyes of those two characters who claim to be objective. She still comes across as spoilt, but we get to see that she really can’t help it, and that she’s not Miss Bingley-spoilt, but rather nice about it. She does care for her father and puts up with much that others might not, she is fond of her sister and devoted to her former companion. And if she is full of class prejudice, how can she help it? She is after all the best that the area has to offer. I find Mr Knightley’s view of her particularly touching and also a bit funny (but I read Emma before and I know the outcome). Mrs Weston is partial, but after several years of close companionship that is far above the relationship teacher-pupil / employee-employers’s daughter, who wouldn’t be?

The scene where Harriet has her likeness taken is deeply touching in a different way. Poor dear Harriet, so easily guided, so guileless and easy to please! As for Emma, OMG she’s really laying it thick in this one 🙂

A great story beautifully told, and I hope you’re enjoying it!

July 20, 2016
6:41 PM
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Leenie
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 Well, I am sorry to say, Alexa, that none opinions of any of the characters has softened at this point.  In fact, it might have grown worse.  As I was listening to these chapters, Rose Fairbanks got to have a good chuckle at the comments I messaged her.  They shall not, however, be repeated here in polite society.  LOL  Seriously, by the end of these chapters, Mr. Knightley had me wishing to cuss….and I do not cuss!  I believe he is the first of Austen’s heroes to cause such a response. (Lucky him) 🙂 He is right in what he says, but he is such a know-it-all bossy pants!  I was wishing him a Hunsford moment just to let some air out of his sails.  And Miss Woodhouse…well, I do think it would be best if someone would send her to her room to read one of those books she lists but never opens.  She really needs to think about something other than herself for a while.  

I will say that chapter 8 has made me like Knightley a little.  So perhaps there is hope for me yet.  🙂 

Oh, and Mr. Elton…..ew….ew….ew.  

Mr. Woodhouse does make me chuckle however…I quite like his ridiculousness.  

July 20, 2016
6:47 PM
Maureen C
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I have read Emma a couple times in the past, and am listening to the audio version narrated by Elizabeth Klett on Librivox for this read-through. In spite of the fact that Emma is spoiled and snobby, I can’t dislike her character. I think much of the time she means well and really does have a caring heart towards others. 

Mr. Knightley is the voice of reason in this story and I too enjoy what he says in his discussion about Emma with Mrs. Weston. J.A. did a good job of opening up Emma’s character to the readers through this conversation between two of the people who know Emma best.

I am enjoying reading everyone’s comments on the passages.

 

July 21, 2016
3:34 AM
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Welcome Maureen! So glad to have you with us! 

I like Emma anyway as well. As Joana says, “She’s not Miss Bingley-spoilt, but rather nice about it.” I love that, Joana. Yes, there are different types of spoiled. Emma isn’t mean, but she is going to some lengths to deceive herself that her bored maneuverings are instead benevolent endeavors. Leenie mentions chapter 8 … oooh chapter 8! That’s where my Emma disaster novel (Emma and Elton, posted on this forumwink) begins. I’ll resist the huge temptation to jump ahead, but man, it’s an awesome chapter.

Excuse me while I gush for a moment, but Emma is such a magnificently written novel that I can’t help it. Having jumped from Lady Susan, the work of the nascent novelist, right into Emma, where she was clearly in her prime, reminds me of what we lost in her early death. She finished Emma in 1815 – two years later she would be gone. When you consider her work chronologically, her development as a writer, from precocious youngster to (arguably) the greatest novelist of all time, is awe inspiring. It makes me weep; she was so talented! Anyway, thanks for the moment of indulgence.

My dear Leenie! I’m sorry Miss Woodhouse is causing you such grief. May I ask if she is repelling you more this read than previously? Just curious. I think we all can agree that Emma’s time would be better spent reading (here I have thoughts of Marianne Dashwood). I also really like Mr. Woodhouse, though I’m curious what a modern psychologist would make of him. I feel like he should be diagnosable, and despite my morbid interest in mental ill-health, I’ve never been able to land on one. He reminds me a great deal of my OCD sister. 

Rebecca makes a good point about advice flying around. There is much more to come, and a good deal of gossip to muddy the waters. This is great fun!

July 21, 2016
12:29 PM
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Leenie
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Alexa, I have always reacted rather strongly to this story.  Although, I admit that this time through, I am paying closer attention to many things — something that often happens on a further reading of any work.  I know that by the end I will be quite happy. 🙂 And I also know that as this is not a first reading I will find new connections and be able to think about things more because I know what is coming.  I guess maybe that also allows me to isolate and react more to the present circumstances in the book. And I am trying to share my reactions as I go without thinking too far ahead at this point.  I did begin with a feeling of pity for Miss Woodhouse having been so isolated.  I am sure that has played a large role in the development of who she is. And just to make sure we all know I do not hate any character (at the moment)…I am just now quoting Mr. Knightley in another conversation (infuriating man is so often right!).  🙂