Emma, Revision and Rewriting.

My aim in writing this piece on Emma was to break out the contradictions in her character. I focused on the contradiction of marriage, her refusal to accept it as a possibility for her, and at the same time an obsessive game that Emma can not put down. I wanted to explore the dilemma that this put Emma in as a character. I saw her as the world builder that was afraid to become like his or her creation. I chose Harriet as the example of how Emma impresses her will to act as a creator onto others because Harriet is such an impressionable person. Harriet lacks a strong conviction, and also looks up to Emma. With these two traits in combination it is easy to use Harriet as a narrative device and as a literal canvas for Emma to try her schemes on.

    Keeping with the creator motif, if Emma were an artist than Knightley is the work of art that never went according to plan. I believe that he works as a romantic interest for Emma precisely because he can see through everything that she tries to do. Knightley also goes one step farther and calls Emma out on her faults. In my draft I wanted to explore this relationship that forces Emma to acknowledge and overcome her own faults. More than this I wish I went into more detail about how Emma and Knightley play off of each other to represent the two versions of social class. The difference in the two forms, with Emma judging others based on how she perceives the patterns of social maneuvering. Knightley views class based on the character of the person, and how they conduct their character to preserve honor. These representations deserved to be worked on further than what I wrote in my draft.

    The lack of fleshing out the ideas that I presented in my draft are its major weak point. I also feel that the draft was rushed to explain too many details at one time. It may have been better if I chose to focus more on one side of the interaction between Emma’s contradiction and society. I also should have restructured my draft to better explain the creator mentality that Emma has to form a stronger argument.

Weak points aside, I feel that the assessment of Emma as a character, and a comparison for what Austen believed was true gentility is a strong part of the Draft. The ideas themselves are a strong point, and I think that they do a lot to generate thought in the audience.

The portion of the draft that talks about how Emma and Knightley play off of each other is good, and one of my favorite parts. I like that because of her contradictory nature that Emma has such difficulty in realizing that Knightley wants to be with her. These types of character developments that are built up well in the novel provide the best topics for any discussion question and I tried to show this strength in my draft.

One thought on “Emma, Revision and Rewriting.

  1. You’re right about the deadly combination that Emma the controller and Harriet the pushover make. The problem, as Looser explains, is that patronage is supposed to work to the benefit of both parties, whereas here Emma stood to gain and Harriet to lose more. One question that emerges from your discussion is why Knightley loves Emma if he’s truly the more genteel of the two, that is, if his understanding of gentility is preferable or better than Emma’s. Do you think it’s because he has created–or at least worked to shape–Emma in a way that parallels her own work on Harriet? How far would this comparison extend?

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