Discuss the characterization of Emma Woodhouse .
in the first chapter of Jane Austen’s Emma.
Jane Austen began writing Emma in 1814, and the book was published anonymously for the first time in 1816. Anne Taylor, Emma’s governess, who had been extremely close to both Emma and her father, moves out to live with Mr Weston. In the absence of this confidante, Emma looks for a new friend and becomes acquainted with the seventeen year old, illegitimate girl Harriet. .
The characterization of Emma Woodhouse.
The first chapter of the book introduces the protagonist of the story, Emma Woodhouse, a twenty-one-year-old girl. She lives with her father, her mother already died at a very young age. So Emma was raised from the day of her fifth birthday on by a governess, Miss Taylor. Emma herself says about Miss Taylor that she ‘fell little short of a mother in affection.’ At the beginning of the novel, however, Miss Taylor has just married Mr. Weston. So Emma is being left alone after sixteen years of companionship of Miss Taylor. As much as she dislikes the fact that her governess married it was in fact she who brought the two lovers together. As of the day Miss Taylor and she met Mr Weston, she likes to think she already knew they were going to become a couple.
This is also a bit where the book is about, the importance of marriage. Emma is preoccupied with the thoughts of marriage. She sees herself as a matchmaker. .
In a way you can say that Emma is intellectually vain. She really believes that she can manage the affairs of others and perform perfect matchmaking.
The problem is that Emma is not a good judge of others, because of her romantic fantasies. In spite of her interest in the love affairs of others, Emma refuses to be romantically involved herself. When she would marry herself she would have to leave her father alone at his house, something she could not bare doing. Even now, she never goes out unless she makes some arrangement for somebody to keep her father company.