This was the first book I had to annotate from start to finish. I know that a lot of people really don’t like annotating, but I enjoy it. Annotation is one of those things that can help enhance a piece of literature in a personal, unique way. No one’s annotations will ever be exactly like someone else’s. There can be similarities, but there is a uniqueness to annotation worth discovering.
Anyways, to my Emma analysis:
Emma Woodhouse is a twenty something girl who has a considerable fortune and lives at her father’s estate, Hartfield. Mr. Woodhouse is a widow and is overly cautious, easily worried, and OCD. Miss Taylor, Emma’s ex-governess, had been living with the Woodhouses as Emma’s best friend once her services were no longer required as a governess. The novel opens up with Mr. Woodhouse lamenting, “poor Miss Taylor” who has recently gotten married and left the family. The air at Hartfield is pretty solemn. Mr. Knightly, Emma’s elder sister’s husband’s brother, appears, and they have a lovely chat. Emma reminds her papa that she matched Miss Taylor and Mr. Weston together. Mr. Knightly and Mr. Woodhouse urge Emma not to make any more matches. Emma won’t get married herself, but she loves matching up others. Emma meets a new friend, Harriet Smith, who visits Hartfield. She is the illegitimate daughter of some unknown man, and was raised by Mr. Woodhouse’s dear friend. Emma takes to Harriet instantaneously, and wants to continue a friendship. The girl’s friendship grows. When Harriet is proposed to by a commoner, Mr. Robert Martin, Emma approves of a refusal. Harriet refuses, and Mr. Knightly is upset because Mr. Martin is a wonderful man. Emma hopes to match Hariet up with Mr. Elton, the town vicar. Emma encourages Harriet that Mr. Elton is good for her, and believes Mr. Elton likes miss Smith. Unfortunately, Mr. Elton announces his love of Emma, not Harriet, and Emma refuses. Mr. Elton is furious and leaves Highbury, only to become engaged soon after. With the arrival of Mr. Weston’s son, Frank Churchill, who lives with his uncle and aunt, and Miss Jane Fairfax, niece of Mr. Woodhouse’s dear friend, Emma becomes very close to Frank and not Jane. Emma thinks frank fancies get, and wonders if she likes him, too. These feelings are short lived in Emma, for when Frank leaves town for awhile, Emma looses any romantic feelings for him. Frank returns, and saves Harriet from gypses. Emma encourages Harriet to like Frank, but unbeknownst to Emma, she unwittingly encourages Harriet to like Mr. Knightly! Frank and Jane are secretly engaged, and this news comes as a surprise to Emma, but only now does Emma learn who Harriet actually loves. Emma becomes very jealous of this, and realizes she loves me. Knightly. Emma and Mr. Knightly get together, and Harriet marries Mr. Martin, whom she loves, and everything ends well. This story would make an excellent movie.
I really hated Emma in the beginning because her character was so annoying, and rude, and haughty, and etc… But then she grew on me. And I loved the novel. Definitely worth the read (and annotation!). Austen used a lot of repetition in Emma, which was a great technique used to enhance the novel’s quality.
2 thoughts on “Emma by Jane Austen”
Enjoyed reading your summary. I can’t decide whether or not Austen meant us to LIKE Emma (the character).
Thank you! Yeah, Emma was a very controversial character for me. In the beginning, I was very adament about how much I hated Emma Woodhouse’s character, but by the end of it, I loved her. It is a very dear story, and it was apparently a crime for me to not read it (my teacher had said this).