Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Show how you respond to Austen’s presentation of balls and other social events in Emma

‘It may be possible to do without dancing entirely. Instances have been known of young people passing many, many months successively without being at any ball of any description, and no material injury accrue either to body or mind: – but when a beginning is made – when the felicities of rapid motion have once been, though slightly felt – it must be a very heavy set that does not ask for more.' Using the quotation as a starting point show how you respond to Austen's presentation of balls and other social events in Emma. The above quotation put in simple terms connotes socializing to not be essential for survival yet once experienced, addictions can be produced. This is implied within Jane Austen's Emma as hinted by social events presentation and their significance. Suggestions of such views display human development by the mistakes made within society to encourage moral growth and wisdom. The central focus upon balls and social pursuits indicates the triviality of the upper classes. Austen's satirical tone throughout the novel exemplifies the hierarchy of the eighteenth nineteenth century, while ridiculing their concerns. The author has illustrated a further emphasis by concentrating particularly on Emma's development and need for social awareness as progressed through the various social affairs. The Weston's Christmas party acts as an introductory occasion for the readers to establish a hierarchy, as well as Emma's importance within the Highbury society. The Woodhouses are treated to be at the centre of attention as illustrated by the great fuss created for â€Å"poor Mr. Woodhouse† due to the falling of snow. By making such characters much pleased with them, they begin to believe they are and feel much more superior. This permits Emma in her match making schemes of ultimately feeling a strong love interest among Mr. Elton and Harriet Smith. Emma's confidence is quilted by the safety of her fathers smothering and her lack of awareness. This meddling leads to devastating consequences, which may be seen through the contrasting behaviour contained in private and public atmospheres. A faà ¯Ã‚ ¿Ã‚ ½ade of etiquette is created publicly to portray perfectionism of characters friendly decorum. Mr. Weston kindly criticizes Emma while she politely â€Å"listened† and â€Å"coolly† replies. Emma needs to preserve her good manners in a situation like this as not cause any damage to her status. Conversely, when Emma and Mr. Elton are alone in the carriage, returning home, the change in conduct insights readers to the true colours of the character concerned. Previously, Mr. Elton seemed â€Å"so anxious for† Emma, demonstrating agitating behaviour, explaining the true exposition of Mr. Elton's â€Å"pretence of being in love with her†. His obnoxious behaviour screened to Emma and the readers reflects his snobbery, as he believes â€Å"everybody has their level†, as well as degrading his respect. The significance of this event adds to the background of future events and creates a build up. Emma looks forward to a night of being admired at the Coles dinner party but clear differing levels of accomplishment with the â€Å"superior† Jane Fairfax prevent this, as well as distinguishing a sense of competition between the two characters. One major accomplishment, the art of piano playing, may be regarded as a form of battle ground among Emma and Jane. Jane's advancement clearly initiates much threat for Emma as her attentions are overtaken. Nevertheless due to social expectations of the formal times, Emma is required to be friendly towards poorer, low class woman such as Miss Fairfax. This allows others to publicly view Emma's character to be of a good image. The use of falseness and pretences supports the idea of conformist public behaviour through superficial mannerisms of always â€Å"smiling†. Ironically, the narrative reveals much deeper thoughts of Emma privately whilst creating comedy though the anticipation of her reactions which â€Å"she never could attempt to conceal.† However her opinion of Jane is not openly expressed but slyly gossiped with Frank who joins in, yet continuously is â€Å"glancing towards Miss Fairfax.† The divisions of social classing prevent Frank from freely associating himself with Jane who he is secretly engaged with. This becomes evident alongside the social gatherings, suggesting secrets codes of honour to carry out, by enforcing heavy use of faà ¯Ã‚ ¿Ã‚ ½ades in friendships among Emma, Frank and Jane. False pretences are deepened within the society of Highbury as immediately reflected through Emma holding a dinner party for Mrs. Elton, a woman she can not stand. During this gathering much commotion is taken up by party guests, predominantly by Mr. Knightely, about Jane's â€Å"venture.† Austen can be seen to be ridiculing society as characters take much interest upon a minority issue of visiting the post office. Jane shows a â€Å"little blush† of running â€Å"such risks† while reserving her manners regardless to the invasion of her privacy. Consequently the time period within the novel compels Jane's consistence and Mr. Knightley's courtesy to be purely based upon concern for her health. Adoptions of significance still withstands similar to the previous events, and allow development of future plots such as the suspicion formed upon Miss. Fairfax's behaviour. The great Crown Inn Ball had been postponed several times creating much enthusiasm and excitement for the people of Highbury. This is an indication of the emptiness of their lives. Being the first formal social gathering due to Mrs. Elton's arrival, social codes would advocate her to have central focus. This angers Emma as â€Å"her taste was not the only taste which† was to be depended upon. Nevertheless Emma masks her true judgement by appearing to appeal to all those around her. Dancing was seen as a metaphor of courtship as Emma encounters this â€Å"flirtation between her and her partner† Frank, others may view them as having a more intimate relationship. Mr. Knightley breaks this code as he â€Å"takes pity on† Harriet to dance, after being embarrassed by Mr. Elton. It is suggestive to surrounding party members of a love connection between Harriet and Mr. Knightley. This is highly contradictory as it was not expectant of someone with Knightley's class and status to degrade down to Miss Smith's level. On the contrary, readers are at an advantage of having an insight upon the text as they know Mr. Knightley's behaviour is due to his chivalrous good natured attitude which compels him to be considerate of everyone around him. This comedic approach stimulates Austen to simultaneously mock and uphold social codes. The interaction between Knightley and Harriet reveals that broken social codes lead to chaos and confusion, as displayed further in the text by Emma's confusion and â€Å"terror† over Harriet having feelings for Mr. Knightley. The faà ¯Ã‚ ¿Ã‚ ½ade of etiquette breaks down vigorously at Box hill, partially as Emma now expresses her thoughts while forgetting her manners. The scene has been set in a very elegant atmosphere â€Å"in favour of a pleasant party† with a â€Å"burst of admiration.† All characters engage in a game for amusement and Emma faces a sudden outbreak which she â€Å"could not resist† towards Miss Bates. The oversight of her politeness and â€Å"mock ceremony of her manners† prevent immediate meaning being obtained. Only until Knightley's â€Å"remonstrance† does Emma realise the impact of her appalling behaviour being in the need of amendment. The idea of Emma acting in such a way in public creates a barrier for her not to be able to undo her actions, whereas if she spoke in private to say Harriet she could have easily justifyed herself. Whether Emma' change was based upon her becoming more self aware or the fact she upset Mr Knightley is open to personal judgement. It could be portrayed that the series of progressively emotional social events lead Emma to realise much more about herself and those around her. By learning from her mistakes she was able to mature and become more purely and truly accepted as a superior of society. Controversially, Emma begins to realise she has feelings for â€Å"my [meaning Emma's] Mr. Knightley† and therefore cannot go about upsetting him as this tarnishes his vision of her. Her change therefore would be due to selfish terms. In regard of all this, Emma does change herself and correct her faults. The destruction of polite faà ¯Ã‚ ¿Ã‚ ½ade works as an incentive to compel Emma in re-evaluating her misconduct and to reform. The consecutive chapter illustrates Emma's embracement of self realisation, after the eventful picnic, as Mr. Knightley's disapproval deeply hurts her. Her â€Å"confidence [had] told her so† that she â€Å"had often been remiss.† After the Box Hill incident, Emma did not want others to consider her â€Å"without a heart† and â€Å"so unfeeling towards [her] father.† Emma's â€Å"completely misspent† morning obliged her to recollect herself and no longer interfere. By directly paying a visit to Miss. Bates, she begins the journey of self correction. This is further illustrated as Emma talks about Jane with genuine feeling and interest in spite of Jane's abrupt and extra reserved behaviour. Emma learns, with the help of Mr. Knightley's finger pointing, that she needs to concentrate on her own thoughts and actions rather than those around her. The limited use of action throughout the novel constructs social occasions to be at the focal point of the plot. Consistently, this reflects the artificialities of Austen's world which she wanted the reader to pick up upon. By exposing society's hypocrisy, due to the show of gestures, the satire acts a comedic tool for readers. Even though Emma's faults are chiefly stressed upon; the story reveals faults in other characterisations such as Mrs. Elton, Frank and Mr. Woodhouse. I feel the idea of concentrating heavily on, what would be considered by the modern reader, small concerns; Austen specifies the consequences of falling out of traditional practice. The juxtaposition of such problematic proceedings, ending with a minute ounce of happiness for Emma, makes the novel unique and intensifies the effect. Nevertheless the moral message overrides such views to allow the reader to learn from the mistakes of characters and the importance of maintaining a balance. This allows progression of readers to improve themselves and become more self-aware also. Finally, the use of misconception and confusion adds to the ironic use of satire to amuse spectators.

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