Archive for the ‘rereading books’ Tag

Clueless but Not Hopeless   Leave a comment

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Late last year, a friend and I decided to reread Emma before seeing the most recent film version. We met twice to talk about it shortly after the movie was released, but hadn’t had a chance to see it once theatres closed in March. We’re optimistic about seeing it together – perhaps along with one of my daughters-in-law.

Among the beauties of a Jane Austen novel is the ease and comfort that accompanies revisiting it. It had been years since I’d last read Emma. The depth of the characters – or in Emma’s case her shallowness – along with the descriptive sense of place — made it fun to revisit.

Yes, Emma is intelligent, wealthy and beautiful. She’s also selfish, but has a kind heart. Thankfully, she has Mr. Knightly to try to open her eyes beyond the estate where she lives with her father. Mr. Woodhouse is a distressed man worrying about his health and attempting to project his mindset on others. Emma patiently caters to him.

Although the plot involving a free-thinking, independent young woman with friends representing different social stations and various  degrees of romance/matchmaking/unrequited love is familiar to Austen fans, Emma is simply  an enjoyable read. The 1995 film entitled Clueless is the perfect description of Emma. She is unable to correctly assess situations when it comes to relationships, whether for others or herself.

Yet, Austen ensures that Emma is an endearing character because her efforts to play a role in the happiness of others are sincere, even if misguided.

Emma
Five Bookmarks
Penguin Classics, 1996 (first published in 1815)
476 pages (includes Introduction, Chronology, Further Reading)