Jane Austen's presentation of character and situation in "Emma". The relative importance of "gentility", "property" and "love" in the author's scheme of values


Essay, 1989

7 Pages, Grade: A


Abstract or Introduction

Jane Austen was notably often considered a child more of the eighteenth century than of the nineteenth century. Most of her novels affirm the presence of an orderly society and its entrenched values. She valued universal and fundamental conventions such as consideration for others, good principles, and good judgement.

In the novel Emma, Jane Austen demonstrates great concern for the stability of old values in the rapidly changing Highbury society. Her world comprises the traditional feudal systems with the landowners and yeomanry undergoing a transitional phase in its social structure. The community faces a new rising middle-class sector, which makes its money utilizing business and trade and would like the prestige of the gentry’s class. The new class also threatens the traditional hierarchy of the old gentry. The gentry’ class is the custodian of gentility and it must always observe the code for the sake of order. As such, Austen’s heroine Emma, of the old gentry is one of the dominating figures in the novel; who ultimately reconciles to her leadership position in society and her role as an exemplary female.

In this society, the value placed on gentility seems to exceed that of property and love. The value associated with love is subtly underrated as compared to the values of gentility and property. The pivotal events of the novel concern the marriage of young women to men and in this regard, the integration of the values of property, gentility, and love, is of prime importance. A perfect union forms only when these three values coalesce between the couple. There is sometimes much ambiguity in assessing the relative importance of these values to the author, as Austen unfolds unobtrusively several points of view in the novel.

Details

Title
Jane Austen's presentation of character and situation in "Emma". The relative importance of "gentility", "property" and "love" in the author's scheme of values
College
The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine
Course
E353 Selected 19th Century Literature
Grade
A
Author
Year
1989
Pages
7
Catalog Number
V343320
ISBN (eBook)
9783668339811
ISBN (Book)
9783668339828
File size
458 KB
Language
English
Keywords
Jane Austen, Emma, gentry, feudal system, social structure, gentil society, marriage
Quote paper
BA Literatures in English, Diploma in Education Masters Literatures in English Paulette Reefer (Author), 1989, Jane Austen's presentation of character and situation in "Emma". The relative importance of "gentility", "property" and "love" in the author's scheme of values, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/343320

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