Emma – Review

Emma by Jane Austen

Age: Adult

If the characters in Mansfield Park lacked any spirit, Jane Austen made up for it in Emma.

Although Elizabeth Bennett may be every woman’s favorite Jane Austen character, I took a liking to Emma Woodhouse. She’s funny, intelligent, has a big heart, but is also prone to make bad judgement calls like most human beings.

The quick summary is that Emma is a local match-maker. After helping merge one fantastic couple, Mr. Weston and Emma’s governness Miss Taylor, all her other schemes seems to flounder. Harriet Smith is a minor character although seems to fall in love with anyone that Emma points to. Mrs. Elton was one of my favorite characters only because of her insipid vanity and over indulgence in herself.

I’m not sure why, but Jane Austen seems to love solving all of the conflicts in her novels through a lengthy and well written letter. Darcy wrote a letter to Elizabeth explaining his point of view on their relationship, which became a turning point in that novel. There were a series of correspondences between Fanny and Edmund in regards to Mary Crawford which led to Edmund realizing he loved Fanny. In Emma, there is a well worded letter by Frank Churchill explaining all his secretive actions and his love for Jane Fairfax, which settled many thoughts and rumors of his leading Emma on and why the two acted to secretive.

I think Frank Churchill was my favorite character in the novel. He is full of surprises, has an open and friendly heart, and seems to always entertain, whether he intended to or not.

I had the movie Clueless running through my head while I read this book. I think Clueless is an excellent adaptation of Emma, carefully creating characters and plot that stay faithful to the novel. I could see many character correlations, but I’m still trying to figure out who Jane Fairfax would be in the movie.

Like most of Austen’s novels, there were quite a few chapters that I wish had been cut out altogether, since they didn’t help the plot progress and were just plain boring. But given the time frame of when the novel was written, it was probably more enjoyable to read about normal life occurances than it is now in our more impatient era.

Find this book at your local library

2 responses to “Emma – Review

  1. We studied Emma in school, with our exam a few months before the Gwyneth Paltrow film came out. What we did have was Clueless, which I agree is a very good resetting of the book. The main character from each without an obvious counterpart are I think Jane Fairfax and Cher’s best friend (it’s been awhile, and I don’t remember), which is interesting, as so many people in Emma wanted Jane to be that close to Emma.

  2. rantsandreads

    I guess that was the best they could come up with for Jane Fairfax, was turning her into Cher’s best friend in the movie. I don’t think it hurt the book or the movie at all. Everything else was just a good modernization of such a basic story.

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