View Full Version : Does anybody not particularly like Emma the character?

06-14-2005, 07:29 AM
I like Emma. I'll get that out of the way first. I don't like it as much as I love P&P, but I still like the story.

However, I spent most of the time during my read-through wanting to smack some sense into Emma herself. I know people love her spunk and her vitality. Heck, people have even named their daughters after her character specifically. But I just couldn't come to like her as a person. She's got a great character arc, she grows, she learns, and yes I want her and Knightley to end up together as much as the next person. But, if she were a real person, I wouldn't want to be Emma's friend.

Anybody else know what I mean?

08-12-2005, 10:17 PM
I agree Emma is a spoiled brat. I think Jane Austen did that on purpose. Austen loved to bring out the worst traits people can have and then she made of them. I like Emma because she is so human, unlike other literature of that time, which tended to be stiff and flat Jane Austen brought great depth and real charater.

08-12-2005, 11:16 PM
Hi America141 and sKorpia,

well I haven't read Emma by Jane Austen yet, and Im made curious by what sKorpia describe...gonna get the book to read soon. :cool:

Thank you two for sharing!

10-14-2005, 04:32 AM
I did not like her very much. I liked the way Austen portrays her characters and Emma was she also portrayed Emma in a nice manner but I did not like "Emma" personally. I mean I did not like her behaviour.
She thought herself as a know-it-all. My opinion might change of her character when I will finish the novel but uptill now, I admit that she is an interesting person and Austen has portrayed her character very well that interests a reader but it seems to me that one some places she is very boring. She thinks that she is everything and she know better of everything.

10-14-2005, 04:47 AM
I think the attraction of Emma's character comes from exactly this flaw that she thinks she knows better even though from the very start we readers know that she obviously does not. She is not much different from any other teenager who thinks s/he knows better than his/her parents and anyone else around him/her. I am sure we all have been there, done that ;) Slowly she learns her lessons through experience and reaches some kind of maturity.

It is quite possible to compare Emma to Elizabeth (Pride and Prejudice) or Catherine (Northanger Abbey). Both Catherine and Elizabeth, too, think they know certain things and acts on their pre conceived ideas just to discover that they have been wrong all along. The good thing is that all these heroines learn from their experiences and are better off for it.

We all make mistakes; hopefully we will learn from them and move on.

Emma is a coming of age story. If Emma's character had not been flawed in a certain way, there would have been little to write about.

10-21-2005, 06:07 AM
A lot of Emma's character flaws come from those around her - Miss Bates praising her kindness in visiting her, her father depending on her so much - the only people she has who are at all comfortable scolding her are Mrs Weston and Mr Knightly, and the former, now out of the role of governess, is not in a position to attempt to guide her as she once could have. Emma is brought up to be vain and think much of herself, as the young lady of the neighbourhood she is the first in consequence to a lot of people.

12-20-2005, 09:45 AM
If I am not mistaken, Jane austen said something like "I will create a heroine, that noone apart me will like." (Im not sure how it goes exactly, she wrote that to her sister)
Well, I must say, that I quite liked Emma mysellf. I usually like caracters like her, like Scarlet OHara (Gone With the Wind), Catherine Earnshaw (Wuthering Heights), caracters that arent really good...

12-26-2005, 08:38 PM
You know what the problem with Emma is? She never thinks about what she is saying or doing, and she always assumes she is right.

I know what you mean, it's a good story, and you do want her to end up with Knightley, but you also want to give her a good slap and tell her to leave other people's business alone! She tends to do more harm than good when she attempts to help.

Actually, did anyone find Jane Fairfax a bit of a doormat? I thought, like Knightley, that she could do a million times better than Churchill. He didn't strike me as being someone she could possibly want to marry, after everything he does.

But back to Emma...As much as you have to hate Emma's flaws, you have to remember that the point of it was that she was 'clever, rich, and beautiful', so of course she has always had people telling her she can do no wrong. And that is why she is the way she is. Similarly, Harriet Smith is foolish and doting because she has had a limited education and has been taught to look up to people like Emma. In that, I would say that Austen is able to show how characters develop according to their social upbringing, which is all too true.

01-07-2006, 02:33 PM
i will admit i didn't like Emma at the beginning, she was so annoyingly stubborn and selfish. but i suppose i like strong female characters. i couldn't help admiring her in contrast to Harriet. i mean, come on, a 'nice' character has never made an interesting book. and by being showed her faults, i came to like her even more.
i also loved miss bates - she may be annoying, but it's quite funny too!

01-07-2006, 02:45 PM
I just plain didn't like Emma. I never grew to like her one bit. And not just because she was rude and careless in her speech and thought she was herself brilliant and just about all knowing.
It was something deeper. I have known many people to be know it alls but they were not cruel along with it. They still cared about people's feelings and were kind if only deep inside.
I thought Mr. Knightly could have done a hundred times better. And to top it off when I saw the A&E presentation, the actress that played her was so unpretty to me and had such a pretentious manner I absolutely loathed her by the end. Felt like one of those moments I needed something to calm my stomach.

01-07-2006, 03:50 PM
I didnt lik emma the first tim I read the book but I still felt sorry for her but
I like her a bit more every time I read it, as the one heroine created to be disliked.

Matrim Cuathon
02-12-2007, 08:25 AM
i know im months behind the original comment but, it was so much the same as i felt the whole book that i ahd to agree. i really wanted to hit her with a crowbar a few times. its amazingly funny how she got that idea(of harriet and elton) into her head and was then totally blinded to the reality.

Blackjack Davy
04-06-2007, 04:59 PM
"I am going to take a heroine whom no-one will much like" - Jane Austen, on the writing of Emma.

04-09-2007, 01:09 PM
I found her to be a "know it all", a meddler, snobbish....and I liked her anyway. Like real live people, characters in novels should be multi-dimensional. We all have our good traits and our not so good traits.

If Emma was just a one dimensional twit, she wouldn't be interesting at all, but she seems to be to be a twit who cares about her friends, their wellbeing, and eventually their opinions.

The fact that she is so shamed by Mr. Knightley after being rude to ...er...what's her name, the poor woman, shows she has the capacity to learn from her mistakes and she does come to realize she is not miss perfect.

04-25-2007, 10:40 AM
Harriet,, yes that's true!

She's an entertaining character to read about but as a friend she wouldn't be perfect, I agree! She's interesting though, and it's so cool that Knightley does see who she really is, and still loves her for it!

05-20-2007, 09:12 AM
At the end of the day, it's hard to not feel satisfied when your main character learns and grows.

All I can say is, Emma is the first Austen book I've read and that was back in high school. At that time I had no idea who Jane Austen was and thought this nearly 500 page brick was an absolute nightmare. By the end of it, like everyone else on this forum, I thought it was extraordinary. Only through such a flawed character can you bring out so many themes in this novel.

Sir Bartholomew
07-02-2007, 09:20 PM
i love the book, and i both love and hate the main character. she reminds me of myself.

03-27-2009, 02:03 AM
True, Emma is selfish and extremely class conscious, but she's likeable because she's so ignorant to all her faults. Her devotion to her father makes it easier to sympathize with her as well. And her quick judgements and cleverness make her a very entertaining character. I think her imagination, though it distorts her reality, is so childlike and innocent.

Lynne Fees
03-27-2009, 01:45 PM
Emma fixed everyone else up, but thought no one would ever be good enought for her. I think the reason Jane Austen made Emma a "know it all" was so that she could fix her up with Knightley in the end and show her how wrong she was about true love. I always wonder about the sequel to these stories - how was married life:yawnb:

10-24-2010, 07:16 AM
I must agree, I love the story much more than the character 'Emma'. Emma does seem to be very nosy and does get involved where she shouldn't. The fact that she directs Harriet's desires elsewhere when she clearly wants to marry Robert Martin, for me, is close to unforgivable. Poor Harriet's seems to fall 'in love' with three men...two . Robert Martin, Mr Elton, and Mr Knightly, of whom, two, Emma does not approve of, therefore, Harriet, of course, can not marry. Of course, it all turns out fine, but it too a lot longer to get there that it would have done, had Emma not interfered.
I don't know about other people but I don't think I would not especially like a friend like that.
I maybe being a little too harsh on Emma...Obviously, I do believe her intentions are honourable, she does seem to want Harriet's happiness. But she seems to put her own pleasure above her friends, i.e, taking Mr Knightly for herself. This seems quite selfish to me. The fact that Harriet was really in love with Robert Martin, and Mr Knightly had no feelings for her is irrelevant. In addition, Emma's slating of Miss Mates is terrible behaviour, and definitely inexcusable.

09-21-2011, 06:30 AM
I highly dislike her at the beginning. However after round about when she realises she screwed up with Harriet and Mr Elton, I begin to like her :)