Austen's "Emma" Quotations and Analysis

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Rather too much her own way and a disposition to think a little too well of herself
Austen tells us from the start that Emma is a flawed heroine and we get the sense that this will not be a traditional romantic novel
1 of 15
How could she have been so brutal, so cruel to Miss Bates! How could she have exposed herself to ill opinion in anyone she valued!
Emma seems to realise her mistake after Knightley chastises her at Box Hill, but we have to wonder whether her concern is more related to his opinion of her than Miss Bates'- Austen doesn't actually say.
2 of 15
It darted through her with the speed of an arrow that Mr Knightley must marry no one but herself!
Emma is only able to realise her love for Knightley through her jealousy of Harriet, again emphasising the fact that society and relationships are all in Highbury
3 of 15
Time will generally lessen the interest of every attachment not within the daily circle
Another reference to the fact that Highbury is the whole world for many of the characters especially Emma, and that Emma has no interest in friendships outside of that
4 of 15
She would form [Harriet's] opinions and her manners. It would be an interesting and certainly a very kind undertaking.
Emma treats Harriet like a mixture of a project to alleviate her boredom and a doll she can pick up and put down again whenever she feels like it. She sees the upper classes as role models for all lower class people.
5 of 15
To understand, thoroughly understand her own heart, was the first endeavour
Towards the end of the novel Emma realises her own need for self awareness which allows her to become more of a heroine
6 of 15
With insufferable vanity had she believed herself in the secret of everybody's feelings, with unpardonable arrogance proposed to arrange every body's destiny
Emma finally realises her own mistakes, which is key in making her a more sympathetic character and allowing her marriage to Knightley and happy ending
7 of 15
Emma, your amiable young man can be amiable only in French, not in English...he can have no English delicacy.
Knightley holds the English values of being a gentleman as the highest virtue a man can have. Despite Frank's social status he is not a "gentleman" in Knightley's opinion, while the farmer Robert Martin is due to his good manners.
8 of 15
A woman is not to marry a man merely because she is asked, or because he is attached to her, and can write tolerable letter.
Unlike Knightley, Emma places little value on politeness and gentility if a man is of a lower social class- she assumes all lower class people are"illiterate and vulgar".
9 of 15
A man always imagines a woman to be ready for anybody who asks her [to marry him].
Emma's statements in this scene may seem feminist, saying that women can have independence to choose their husband, but in reality this is limited to upper class women such as Emma- poorer women such as Harriet and Jane don't have that kind of choice
10 of 15
The course of true love never did run smooth- a Hartfield edition of Shakespeare would have a long note on that passage
Emma's quoting of Shakespeare could suggest her view of other characters in the novel as simply players on a stage, who she can manipulate for her own amusement.
11 of 15
A very narrow income has a tendency to contract the mind and sour the temper.
This statement is completely untrue, given the manners, kindness and level of education seen in poorer characters such as Robert Martin and Jane Fairfax. Again, Emma equates poverty with vulgarity
12 of 15
You were very popular before you came, because you were Mr Weston's son- but lay out half a guinea at Ford's and your popularity will stand upon your own virtues.
Popularity in the microcosm of Highbury is down partly to reputation- everyone is intrigued by the mystery of Frank's arrival and social connections, but Emma states that the real cause of popularity is wealth.
13 of 15
Emma could not but rejoice to hear that she [Jane] had a fault
Emma is jealous of Jane, but there could be several reasons why- she is talented and plays the piano well, she is popular and well mannered despite being of a lower class than Emma, which Emma cannot seemingly understand
14 of 15
The style of [Martin's] letter was much above her expectation
Again, Emma assumes that all poorer people are uneducated and cannot seem to come round to Knightley's view that gentlemen are made, not born
15 of 15

Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

Emma seems to realise her mistake after Knightley chastises her at Box Hill, but we have to wonder whether her concern is more related to his opinion of her than Miss Bates'- Austen doesn't actually say.

Back

How could she have been so brutal, so cruel to Miss Bates! How could she have exposed herself to ill opinion in anyone she valued!

Card 3

Front

Emma is only able to realise her love for Knightley through her jealousy of Harriet, again emphasising the fact that society and relationships are all in Highbury

Back

Preview of the back of card 3

Card 4

Front

Another reference to the fact that Highbury is the whole world for many of the characters especially Emma, and that Emma has no interest in friendships outside of that

Back

Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5

Front

Emma treats Harriet like a mixture of a project to alleviate her boredom and a doll she can pick up and put down again whenever she feels like it. She sees the upper classes as role models for all lower class people.

Back

Preview of the back of card 5
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