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Emma Chapters 7 & 8
Emma Volume I, Chapters VII and VIII Questions and Discussion
July 25, 2016
7:25 PM
Austen Authors
Forum Posts: 43
Member Since:
August 14, 2015
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Here are four discussion areas for these chapters.  You may talk about any of these or something else entirely.  The discussion questions are just to get the ball rolling.  

  1. What is Emma’s response to Harriet receiving the letter from Mr. Martin? Going back to some of the questions on the last page, do you think Emma’s response is one of a friend trying to make sure her friend ends up in the best possible situation, or is it the response of a person wanting badly to keep a friend? Could you make a case, supported by evidence from the text we have read in the book so far, for one or both of these options? What of Harriet’s willingness to listen to and be led by Emma advice? Is that something for which she should be praised or is it a flaw in her character?
  2. Mr. Knightley sees the marriage proposal as advantageous for Harriet. He also lists a possible result from her refusal that is not a happy result for the poor girl. What is the worst case scenario that Emma seems not to have considered?
  3. Mr. Knightley’s response to what has happened in regards to the marriage proposal is strong and negative. He is very displeased and scolds Emma rather severely. In your opinion, how insightful is Mr. Knightley about life and Emma?
  4.  Why do you think Emma is feeling ‘vexed’ when Mr. Knightley left?

My thoughts:

I must say I was not pleased with chapter 7 Emma at all!  I felt she was being rather selfish in her advice.  However, as the moderator of this discussion, I had to force myself to see it in a different light. There is a real possibility that Emma is truly trying to help a friend and not just herself, but she is perhaps a bit clueless in how to do go about being helpful.  She sees the world from her own perspective and not that of her friend — and the realities of each lady’s situation in life are very different.  Emma can choose to remain single. Harriet would be better to marry sensibly.  So, does the error of Emma’s thinking fall solely on her shoulders or must it be shared by those who have had a hand in her education? 

In chapter 8, I actually started to like Mr. Knightley.  I still think he is exceptionally bossy, annoyingly right far too often, and so far seems a bit too perfect; but I did like how he told Emma that what she had done was not right.  And as I have been thinking on it, I think I have decided what it is about him that I know makes me like him more and more despite all those things I mentioned earlier. His love for Emma is not blind. It feels right now that most who love Emma are blind to any imperfection that she might have, but Mr. Knightley sees her for who she is and loves her anyway.

So what are your thoughts? I would love to hear them.  

July 27, 2016
1:39 PM
rebecca jamison

Chapter 7 Emma is annoying, but I believe she really is trying to do what’s right for Harriet. I think you’re right that she sort of mixes up Harriet’s situation with her own. I believe at this point, she mistakenly believes that Harriet is some sort of long lost heiress. Perhaps that point is lost a bit in the modern videos (although they are mostly spot-on.)

I love Mr. Knightley in this chapter because I think he wants to help Harriet, Mr. Martin, and Emma. I would be frustrated too if I were in his position. I think he’s right that Harriet’s response to Mr. Martin could ruin her. She lives in a small town and doesn’t have many opportunities to advance herself. Mr. Martin is already above her station, and her response to him is unexpected and ungrateful. That’s the sort of thing that could ruin her reputation forever, especially since Mr. Martin has a mother and sisters who could spread gossip about her. (It’s to their credit that they don’t.)

July 27, 2016
2:19 PM

Perhaps that point is lost a bit in the modern videos (although they are mostly spot-on.)

I was impressed that they showed so much in such a short time and in a modern way.  

July 27, 2016
9:16 PM
Maureen C

I really liked the way they modernized this part of the story in Emma Approved. I feel like they did a good job of showing Emma’s meddling, Harriet’s indecision, and Knightley’s wisdom. They also did a good job of making one feel bad for Martin, as they show how sweet and thoughtful he is. Thanks for including the video clips. Though I have watched the whole series, it’s nice to watch the videos right after reading the actual passage.

Emma is vexed when Knightley leaves because though those two like to banter and tease, she respects him, and values his good opinion. Although she claims that she is right and he is wrong, I think deep down she may realize that what Knightley says is true…even if she is in denial of it at this point.

August 3, 2016
4:23 AM
Austen Authors
Forum Posts: 70
Member Since:
December 27, 2014
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Hey! I thought I commented on this last week. Wonder what happened …

I agree with Maureen. Emma conscience has been enough formed by Mr. Knightley that she cannot be easy when he is so much against her. 

Guess I’m on to chapters 9 and 10!