Jane Austen’s Emma, published in 1815, presents an in-depth look on how society in England dealt with the differences between classes, precisely on how the members of the upper class interacted both with each others and with those lower than them. Emma is a departure for Jane Austen to take a side as a moralist and observe the common behavior of people in particular the cynism of social classes. The author herself spent her first 26 years in a small village like Highbury ,the Hampshire, so she wrote Emma inspired by her own experience of living in a small community. It is debatable whether the society that Emma lives in is depicted by Miss Austen in a realistic portrait or whether it is an idealized portrait of society as it should or perhaps could be. She creates in the novel a social world chock full of romantic missteps, social clashes and silly social conventions. In doing so, Jane Austen points out the way that society –in her time- constructs ridiculous expectations of people, she also highlights the fact that people have to depend upon social conventions in order to be accepted by the rest of the community and make it through in life.
Jane Austen uses her characters to show the reality of social classes in England. Some of Emma’s characters belong to highly looked up families in Highbury (the Woodhouses, the Knightleys and the Churchills), using the way they behave with the rest of the community, she shows that such a social standing carries the abuse of power and wealth, arrogance and lack of acceptance, all prove that the class status plays a significant role in the shaping of the novel.
Miss Austen encourages in Emma compassion and charity between the members of the higher classes but, she maintains social distinctions. Although the novel revolves around the main character’s attempts to raise her friends issued from modest environment out of their social grade, the author makes it clear that only those who born with...
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