Emma Chat Recap #1

Mar 4, 2014 by

Our first Emma group chat was on Sunday in the chat room.  Don’t worry if you missed it, we will recap it here and you can always jump on in at any time!  Just join us at 6 PST / 9 EST next Sunday when we chat about chapters 9-15.



The age difference between Emma and Mr. Knightley:

Jess: Who else is always slightly surprised and skeezed out to be reminded that Knightley is so much older than Emma? *raises hand*

Lynne:  Amen sister

Liz:  I feel slightly skeeved now but they WORK SO WELL TOGETHER.

Jess:  I’m just always like HOLY CRAP THAT IS RIGHT! whenever I read it.

Jennifer:  I don’t mind age difference…except when he reminds her the he held her as a baby. YACK!

Nancy:  Yeah, that part was a bit… thanks for the reminder.

Samantha:  In some ways, he’s more of a father to her than her own father. Ugh.

Nancy:  But, she is an adult now. Definitely an adult.  Unlike Marianne and Col. Brandon, where she’s still just 17ish when they meet.

Samantha: But things were different then. You could marry your cousins (MP), you could marry after a few meetings.

Lynne:  It’s hard to turn off our 21st century filter, but agreed.



Emma’s manipulation of Harriet:

Sharon: What I noted was Emma’s arrogance when he was saying how great Martin was for Harriet etc – that Martin was asking for Harriet in marriage. Emma was amazingly arrogant about her wisdom over his… did not induce me to like her!

Jennifer: I found it interesting that Martin came to him (Knightley) for advice in the first place.  Didn’t anyone enter a romance without consulting others first?

Lynne:  I agree, Sharon. That conversation about “you can marry him but we can’t be friends anymore” was really sad.

Jennifer:  Yeah, I hate that manipulation, Lynne.

Jess:  That whole chapter is like a manual in epic manipulation.


Emma’s character:


Lynne:  Emma is very confident about her convictions and really goes for it, even if she seems shallow.  Emma is surrounded by “yes men” and weak characters except Knightley.

Samantha: I wonder why Jane wanted to write a heroine no one else would like. The challenge?

Nancy: Samantha, my guess is she just started to write the story, and halfway through realised the character would be hard to like.  But by that point, she loved her so much as her own creation that she finished anyway.

Samantha: But Emma is very kind to her father. I think this is her saving grace.

Jennifer:  Yes. Her kindness to her father redeems her. Or goes a long way. And she’s trying to do right by those she manipulates. But she doesn’t realize yet that individuals must make their own choices.

Lynne:  I like an unlikable hero at the beginning to see how they change. They are their own worst enemy and most of the change is internal.

Nancy: I love Emma because she has a very good heart. She wants everyone she loves to be happy.

Farida: What strikes me the most is how certain she is in her opinions. she doesn’t waver, doesn’t have a moment’s hesitation – it never occurs to her that she mind be wrong.


We also discussed:

How limited Emma’s society was, how she literally had no peers in her neighborhood.

How long it would take before you put a fork in your eye if you had to dine with Mr. Woodhouse every night.

All the lovely “Head. Desk.” moments of Emma and Mr. Elton talking around each other over Harriet’s portrait.

Who’s worse? Mr. Collins or Mr. Elton?  (General consensus was Mr. Elton)

Have opinions on any of these topics? Comment below!  And don’t forget to join us this coming Sunday!


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  1. I ADORE Emma, I really do. I’ve been diving into her character as I go through copyedits for the next book in my series which is Emma based.

    Pop culture seems much more forgiving of larger-than-life characters when they are male, whereas larger-than-life females (the overly sassy sidekick, for example) are relegated to secondary characters while the MC/heroine is measured, wise, deserving of whatever.

    I love Emma’s splash. I even love her arrogance. Who hasn’t thought they know what’s best for someone? It’s practically all we talk about. Ha. :)

    • “Pop culture seems much more forgiving of larger-than-life characters when they are male…”

      Cecelia, this is an excellent point. I’m sure most of us have seen the videos–a woman is bossy where a man is bold, etc. Emma is more take-charge than we expect a woman to be. She manages the lives of those around her, which makes her manipulative and bossy.

      I’m trying to think of a male equivalent character–do any spring to mind? Actually, Darcy might really fit the bill here, and this is a trait that he, like Emma, has to grow out of over the course of the book. Somehow though people have an easier time forgiving him, once he learns his lesson, than they do Emma.

      Also, I cannot reiterate enough that Emma’s goals in managing are never selfish. She doesn’t manipulate people for her own ends; she just wants them to be happy, and she tries to coach them into it.

      • I have MAAAAANY feelings about this issue which will come to fruition in a future Emma post :) I agree that Emma is just well meaning, as most people are! (At least most people in my life, thank goodness…)

  2. amina ibrahim shahada

    the book is so interesting

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