Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Guest Post by Little Lady - Emma Woodhouse: The Imperfect & Lovable

I'm Little Lady, a faithful Janeite, fellow blogger, lover of chocolate, coffee, and all things British!

First things first....happy birthday Jane!

I, like you (most likely if you are reading this blog), adore the writings of Jane Austen.  Her stories have been made in to countless film adaptations, re-written in to "modern retellings", computer games (SO fun and addicting), choose-your-own-adventure books (also totally amazing)... they have literally lasted the ages, beloved by all!  But I have to say...

If I had to pick a favorite from
among Miss Austen's books,
I can say without hesitation that it would be Emma every time.  I own the novel, the modern adaptation of the novel, three different versions of the film, and the soundtracks from two of those versions.  I really love Emma!

I am a firm believer that one cannot be a fan of the lovely and talented Jane Austen, without having read Emma and without having watched at least one film version of the novel.

But of course, I should probably tell you why it is that I favor this book so very much.

"Perhaps it is our imperfections that make us so perfect for one another!"
Emma, 1996

I love this book because Emma is so entirely flawed, and the entire book is truly a paradox!  In the story Emma is called "clever" at least four times, and the things she does are always remarkably "clever" as well...and yet through the entirety of the novel dear, clever Emma, does nothing but make mistake after mistake.  She is prideful, rude, and more than a bit vain!  Emma's own Mr. George Knightley remarked, referring to our heroine, that "Vanity working on a weak head, produces every sort of mischief."

Emma Woodhouse is truly flawed, and yet to me that is the greatest appeal of the novel.  Emma's character is more real, more relatable, and really more lovable because of her great many flaws.

Emma's character is real because...
No one believes in a perfect character.  The number one flaw of young writers, is that they always portray their character as the most lovable, perfect, beautiful thing ever.  That's why typically their books don't get published until they wake up and realize no one is perfect...and no one likes perfect.  Even in our fiction, which gives us the freedom to travel to different lands, live a life we cannot today, or fall in love with a handsome gent (Mr. Knightley...), we still want a little reality -- and Miss Austen gives us that, in the flawed Emma.  Of course, it is not just Emma's flaws that make her real, it is also the journey she goes on throughout the story.  She starts out, ignorant of her own flaws, and happy the way she is....but by the end of the story, she's come to the realization that she is indeed not perfect, but that she can work to improve herself.  This is why I love Emma.  We too, go on a journey like this, each and every day we live, and having Emma go on that same journey with us, truly makes her a more realistic character.

Emma's character is relatable because...
She struggles with vanity, once in a while she slips and says something she really shouldn't (Box Hill, anyone?), and she really must work on not being so manipulative!  I love Elizabeth Bennet for her fiery-ness, Catherine Morland's imagination is quite captivating, and Fanny Price's sweet nature is admirable -- but really?  Emma puts her foot in her mouth.  I so get that....unfortunately.  In the course of the novel she is constantly kept in track by the gorgeous Mr. Knightley, and in one scene, she is quite chastised by him!  Beyond her faults, she loves dearly.  She loves her very dear friend Mrs. Weston, she cares deeply about Harriet Smith's happiness (even if she is misguided often regarding Miss Smith), and she takes diligent care of her aging father.  She makes mistakes, does silly things, has fun, loves deeply, enjoys the out-of-doors, longs to travel, and quite overlooks the love of her life for far too long.  She truly is a character that I believe in one way or another, we can all relate to.

Emma's character is lovable because...
I think besides being real, and relatable, Emma is especially lovable because of her spunk and spirit!  She never gives up, and she never backs down from a challenge.  She (especially in the film adaptations) is quite audacious at times.  She's like us, with us because her emotions are swinging all over!  She's in love, she's not in love, she's happy, she's completely depressed.  She's all over the place -- and yet truly lovable at the same time.

Courtesy of Sunshine & Shadows

And so, Miss Austen's Emma will always be a favorite of mine! And I hope this encourages you as well to grab a copy of this book off the shelf, and delve in! To read more about why I love Emma, visit Heart, Character, & Soul post.
If you are more in the movie mood than the delving into a book, check out these fantastic film adaptations!

"Emma" 2009, "Emma" 1996, "Jane Austen's 'Emma'" 1996

I would love to thank Miss Laurie for having me guest post!  It has been a ton of fun to participate in the Jane Austen Birthday Assembly!  Enjoy the birthday fun!  Come and visit me for more fun posts covering an abundance of things (with Miss Austen never forgotten) on my blog Sunshine & Shadows.

I hope to see you all again soon!


P.S. Though I have three film versions, I must admit the 2009 version is my absolute favorite!  Just had to put that out there.


Miss Laurie's note: Thank you Little Lady for agreeing to guest post! It was delightful reading about Jane Austen's clever Emma! :)


Mal said...

Emma is definitely one of my favorite Jane Austen novels too - I can't decide whether I like it or Pride and Prejudice better :) But I do like that unlike P&P, where you dislike Mr. Darcy, you always love Mr. Knightley :)
-mal :)

BanrĂ­on An Gheimhridh said...

I really enjoyed reading this! Emma isn't my favorite Jane Austen story, but now I understand why it may be for other people. :)

Little Lady said...

I do LIKE Darcy...I just prefer Knightley. :D I'm glad you enjoyed it Banrion

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