Thursday, 22 July 2010

Character Connection: Emma Woodhouse

This is a wonderful meme hosted by Jen at The Introverted Reader. Every week, you share one literary character that you love with your fellow bloggers. You talk about the character, say why you love them and hope that everyone else will love them too.;) Be sure to post the book’s title and author, and be very careful not to give away spoilers while talking about how much you love your characters.


Emma Woodhouse is the protagonist of Jane Austen’s novel Emma. Emma is a very interesting character created by Austen. Austen herself stated that Emma would be “a character whom no one but me will much like.” Of course, this is not true, as Emma is loved by many Austen fans, but the truth is that Emma is a distinctly stubborn and vain woman. She does make it hard to love her on the spot.

Emma is a young woman who “had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her.” She is isolated from troubles of the world and I do believe she sees the world through rose-coloured glasses, or rather according to Emma. She is content to live alone with her father, to entertain her friends and intends to never marry. However, she would love to see other people married. Emma considers herself to be a good matchmaker, but the truth is that she’s terrible at it. She makes many mistakes when trying to match up people who are wrong for each other and that even affects her relationship with her closest friend, and later love interest, Mr Knightley.

She is guided by her stubbornness and vanity, and eventually the consequences of such behaviour strike back. However, Emma is good at heart, kind and clever, although a bit spoiled, and she never wishes to hurt anyone on purpose. She is a young woman who struggles to develop emotionally and it is not an easy journey. She is very mature for her age – in the Woodhouse household Emma is definitely the parent, and her father the child – but she lacks experience and that leads to her making various mistakes. Over the course of the novel, Emma begins to realise and acknowledge her mistakes, and is willing to change her behaviour. This happens, but the good part about it is that Emma still remains herself.

To me, Emma is so perfectly imperfect, so humanly flawed, but I can’t help but love her. I would love to be friends with her, provided that she did not try to match me up with some weird bloke.;) She is a genuinely good girl who has been spoiled for a long time and that affected her, but she grew out of it and became a truly mature woman. Emma is a really great heroine.


Introverted Jen said...

To me, Emma is so perfectly imperfect, so humanly flawed, but I can’t help but love her. I would love to be friends with her, provided that she did not try to match me up with some weird bloke.

You said it all right there! Emma isn't my favorite heroine, but at least she does learn from her mistakes. That's more than we can say about a lot of characters, or people for that matter. Great post!

Enbrethiliel said...


My own Character Connection post this week is on Catherine Morland, another "perfectly imperfect" Austen heroine that we can't help loving, despite the fact that her type would likely annoy us if we found her in another author's book. (One of my professors loved pointing out that Emma is the Lady Catherine de Bourgh of her own story!)

I think Austen very deliberately wrote them that way, to satirise common novel tropes of her own day. It would be very interesting to read their contemporaries and see what Catherine and Emma were both send ups of and improvements to. =)

Sullivan McPig said...

I'm beginning to feel a minority here with everyone picking Austen characters and me having only read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and liking it mainly because of the zombies

Enbrethiliel said...


Sully, I'm sure it's just one of those coincidences! ;-)

Irena @ This Miss Loves to Read said...

Hehe, don't worry, Sully.;)

Thank you all for your comments!

Stephanie (Books Are A Girl's Best Friend) said...

I found Character Connection through following your blog Irena and love the idea and took part in it for the first time this week, so thank you :)
I am reading Emma (my first Austen novel!) at the moment so it was nice to read your post on her character.

Irena @ This Miss Loves to Read said...

Stephanie: Character Connection IS a great meme that I love participating in every week. I'm glad you like my post!;)