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在线翻译:
szdaily -> Budding Writers
Book review:Jane Austen’s favorite matchmaker — ‘Emma’’
    2017-June-28  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

As William Dean Howells states, “It took supreme courage to portray a girl, meant to win and keep the reader’s fancy... An officious and self-confident girl, even if pretty, is not usually one to take the fancy.” However, Emma, regarded by Jane Austen as “a heroine whom no one but myself will much like,” is a fantastic imaginist and a romantic novelist!

Emma’s imagination is closely related to love and romance, which is ingenious and animating. Inexperienced as Emma is, she takes a commanding and initiative role in choosing husbands for her friends. Her forging of these romantic matches is also a process of exploring what love and marriage mean to herself.

Interestingly, Emma constructs a romantic fiction based on her daily life but she is not interested in marriage herself. Because of her unwillingness to exchange her current self-sufficient lifestyle for a dependent and submissive role in a marriage, she has kept telling herself and others that she is not going to marry. As she explains to her friend Harriet proudly, “I have very little intention of ever marrying at all. I have none of the usual inducements of women to marry.” However, she ignores that “the usual inducements” in marriage include not only the search for wealth and higher social status which she has already had, but also the desire of love and being loved.

Emma creates romance for everyone except for Mr. Knightley, which indicates she might hold some affection towards Mr. Knightley unconsciously. After experiencing the fright of Harriet’s adoration for Mr. Knightley and now being aware of “the blunders, the blindness of her own head and heart,” she then starts to understand the essence of marriage is mutual affection and trust, and also begins to notice the differences between real love and superficial flirtation.

In addition, there is no doubt that Emma has moral shortcomings, which makes her romantic imagination dangerous and misguided. After she finds that her self-righteous matchmaking affects Harriet’s happiness, she is determined to “repressing imagination all the rest of life.”

In fact, it is not necessary and also impossible to require Emma to be correct in every situation. Emma’s moral life is a continuous and ongoing process. It is clear that in Austen’s moral world, every character’s morality is not static and will be tested, challenged and developed constantly with a positive moral tendency.

Although Emma ends up in “perfect happiness of union,” the development of her romantic imagination and her potential to be a better self are actually on the way to perfection perpetually.

To some extent, it is perfectibility that Austen focuses on instead of a perfect result. And Emma’s perfectibility is her cutest merit, which is the main reason I like this heroine. As a big fan of Austen, it is a reward to return to re-read Emma with fresh delight, time after time.

 

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