Character and Setting in Emma

Jane Austin’s novel concentrates on human relationship revolving around the main character Emma and the importance of Highbury setting to the characterization of the Heroine. Relationship between Emma and Harriet With the witty and charming heroin Emma, Jane Austen’s work was flawless with exploration of human relationship. The major subject of Jane Austen’s Emma revolves around the natural power of human relationship. Austen in this novel compares the healthy and unhealthy relationship between Emma and Harriet. The relationship between Emma and Harriet was an epitome of unhealthy relationship where the teacher Emma exploited, manipulated and neglected her student Harriet. Emma took Harriet under her wings and wanted to teach how to adjust with her choices of acquaintances. Emma was more concerned about her own desires rather being concerned about what would be best for Harriet. Chapter seven of the novel lays special reinforcement to the relationship between Emma and Harriet Smith. Harriet depend upon the decision and suggestion of Emma whether to marry or reject Robert Martin. Though she had some opinion and decisions of her own but could not go by them since Emma’s opinion was more important. This shows how much important role Emma plays in the life of Harriet. They had friendship but between unequal. When Emma advised her to reject Robert Martin, Harriet was disappointed and said You think I ought to refuse him, then (Austen, 44) but did not have the courage to go against Emma’s decision. This clearly reveals that Harriet was totally dependent on Emma’s decision and trusted her blindly. … Elton developed theme like reason versus thoughts, social responsibility versus selfishness and arrogance. Settings The Novel of Jane Austin, Emma has its setting in a provincial community, which involved the gentry of the region. She chose a small tiny town named Highbury where everybody knew everything about anyone staying over there. This revealed that everyone was aware of the peculiarities and odd habits of each individual in the town. One was unaware of the local’s geography. The closeness of the town Highbury to its estates Hartfield, Donwell Abbey and Randalls were clearly revealed in the novel as the fact that London was sixteen miles away. However the description of the physical aspects of the town was not given except that of the Donwell, which was given with a purpose to portray Emma’s reaction. The presence of Richmond road can be felt from the description that Harriet met the gypsies on the Richmond Road but no other details were found. The presence of an embankment over where the companions scuttles was also derived from the description. Emma and Mr. Woodhouse’s house was the geographical center around which the whole novel revolved. The drawing room or something equivalent was the primary setting of the novel. The scene of Box Hill or even the shrubbery walk where George proposed Emma was simply an open-air drawing room. The novel mainly concentrated on the social involvement and human relations. It did not give any clear description of the vegetation or terrain or any connection that leads to the description of the geography of the place. Instead the novel had an evident presence of the description of drawing and dining rooms, rooms for dancing and scenes of carriage and equipment of

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