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Monday, 16 January 2017

JANE AUSTEN'S 'EMMA': NICELY FRAMED

In admiring the fabric of Emma, note even the perfect way the story is framed by its first and last sentences. Concise and purposeful, they are typical of the skill with which Jane Austen structures the entire novel. Emma is a woman who is blind to everything she does not wish to see. She likes to queen it over the little society in which she lives. The book begins:

Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition, seemed to unite some of the best blessings of existence; and had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her.

It ends by looking positively to her future happiness: 

But, in spite of these deficiencies, the wishes, the hopes, the confidence, the predictions of the small band of true friends who witnessed the ceremony, were fully answered in the perfect happiness of the union.

In the last year of her life, Jane told niece Anna and nephew James-Edward what happened after the novel ended. Mr. Woodhouse survived for two years. Jane Fairfax lived for only ten years after marrying Frank. Jane Austen also revealed that the letters Frank placed in front of Jane Fairfax (which she brushed away) made the word 'pardon'.