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Study Guide

Emma Themes & Topics

This Study Guide consists of approximately 130 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Emma.
This section contains 849 words
(approx. 3 pages at 300 words per page)
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Thematic Overview

As in Austen's other work, the marriage plot predominates, but the central themes are found in the characters' interactions with each other and the degree of intelligence, humanity, capacity for growth, and kindness they bring to their inherited social positions. Emma, who has so many gifts, abuses them for much of the novel by trying to rearrange other people's lives—she manipulates Harriet Smith's emotions, hurts those of Miss Bates, all the while not knowing where her own feelings really lie. It is her discovery, guided by Knightley, both of her shortcomings and her real feelings that in a sense earn her betrothal to Knightley.

Yet Emma's machinations, reprehensible as they may be, serve not just to expose her moral shortcomings, but the failings of others and of the social system itself. This exposure is particularly evident in the secret engagement between Frank Churchill and Jane Fairfax...

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This section contains 849 words
(approx. 3 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our Emma Study Guide
Copyrights
Emma from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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