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Emma Paperback – Deckle Edge, June 7, 2011
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About the Author
Born in 1775, Jane Austen published four of her six novels anonymously. Her work was not widely read until the late nineteenth century, and her fame grew from then on. Known for her wit and sharp insight into social conventions, her novels about love, relationships, and society are more popular year after year. She has earned a place in history as one of the most cherished writers of English literature.
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Glad to have revisited this book and will revisit others but don't think they will be by Jane Austen. My book was downloaded onto my Kindle from Amazon.
Jane Austen’s writing style was very witty, short, and sweet. She used clever wording that packs a punch in short sentences. The sentences could be unfinished and have dashed, which was used for emphasis on the urgentness and feeling of the character talking. The mood of the story is somewhat ironic. The author seems to have a deep connection with the characters, but likes to show their flaws and insecurities by making fun of them. All the characters seemed believable. I could relate them to people in my life. Their actions and such would be different considering it was written in the 1800s, but if I just changed some things around it made me think of my friends and family. The place was believable. It was based in a tiny town in England called Highbury. The setting of a small town gave you a closer look into the lives, funny quirks, and personalities of the characters presented. In small towns everyone knows everyone, so it shows us a look into the ordinary people's lives with a twist because you’re getting such a zoomed in view.
This story teaches young people about how to find themselves and focus on what really matter. Emma was a novel that I wouldn’t pick up at first sight and be excited to read. Emma learned by the end of the story that she needed to learn to not meddle in everyone else's love life and try to make connections, but rather come to terms with her own feelings. This changed her as a person. She found the love of her life and got married. She finally came to terms with who she was and who she actually had feelings for all along.
Of course, both the Ang Lee and more recent BBC movies let us know without question that their sister-in-law Fanny Ferrars Dashwood comes from a family whose rise in the world far outpaced their attempt at refinement, and seeing in the Dashwood sisters the example of what a real "lady" should be, she passionately despises them their effortless gentility. It is through her machinations that her husband's half sisters, younger sister and mother-in-law are reduced to living in a cold and distant cottage ("out of sight, out of mind") on 500 L. a year (about $25,000 today), a far cry from the wealth and privilege in which they grew up and which gives them only a lower middle class status. When Fanny's brother Edward quietly admires Eleanor Dashwood, Mrs Dashwood unwisely hints at their mutual feelings and Fanny steps in to separate them.
The Ferrars family with the exception of Edward are alike in their love of money and position. Fearful of being mistaken for anything but the tonnish class they aspire to, they do anything to make sure that money and position are allied with the family and nothing less will do. With the Dashwood women banished far away, Fanny thinks that all is well. But fate takes a hand: not only in the form of the sporting Sir John Middleton and his loud but kindly mother-in-law Mrs Jennings but the chance invitation of the social-climbing cousins of Mrs Jennings, one of whom is aware of Edward's admiration of Eleanor Dashwood, and who puts a very large spoke in the wheel of Eleanor's possible happiness.
There are indeed people in this world who cannot bear to see anyone deserving to be happy, and thus it is for Fanny and Mrs Ferrars and the most enterprising Lucy Steele. Fanny, seeing Lucy as no threat and someone who is even lower down the pecking order of gentility, invites and befriends her over her own sisters-in-law with disastrous results. Seeing a social climber who is even more adept at manipulating people than herself, Fanny and her mother fall into unbecoming, and as Jane Austen subtly shows us, rather common hysterics.
It is Eleanor and the wonderfully noble and patient Colonel Brandon who are the real winners, people of true worth who are able to hide broken hearts yet still act with a nobility of spirit and who respectively get their hearts desires in the complementary Edward Ferrars and Marianne. These four people are vastly superior to almost everyone in this book, and are the most deserving of great happiness. For Edward and Eleanor, there are few regrets in the respective lack of fortune because they each see each other as their heart's desire (and things are eventually somewhat resolved financially for them to ease their situation). Marianne and the wonderful Colonel Brandon find true love with each other, mending each other's broken hearts, and as Jane Austen points out, Marianne never loves by halves and soon gives her heart completely to her Colonel, as he does to her.
It is worthwhile to note that Jane Austen did not shrink from discussing situations and social problems that were usually brushed under the carpet. The daughter of Colonel Brandon's first love is the victim of the unrepentant Willoughby who ruins her for sport and although he does care for Marianne, it is probably because Marianne has a family and especially a careful mother that makes him keep his distance. He is far too shallow to care much beyond his own pleasures and reading between the lines, we realise that Marianne's fate could have been much different if she had been less genteel.
This particular edition has some beautiful watercolour illustrations that can be enlarged on a Kindle Fire that are a lovely addition to the book.