Jane Austen Series: What I Learned From Reading Emma *Spoilers*

I am so excited to start this series. Ever since I joined a Jane Austen Book club last August, I have become such a big fan of Jane Austen’s writing. Emma is actually the 3rd book we read, but I will be discussing it first since it’s still fresh in my mind. You can grab a copy of Emma here. If you enjoy classic literature, I think you will definitely enjoy today’s post!

My thoughts on Emma will be split into 3 different categories: Initial Thoughts/Assumptions, My Reading Experience, and What I Learned/Final Thoughts.

Initial Thoughts/Assumptions

I went into this novel with pretty high expectations, having reading Pride and Prejudice last September. I tried to do minimal research before reading to avoid any spoilers, but I did go into this novel recognizing Mr. Knightly’s name. Other than that I saw snippets of the old Emma film with Gwenyth Paltrow on Youtube. Classic literature isn’t a genre I read avidly, as I do with Fantasy and Thrillers, but I did enjoy Pride and Prejudice so I went into Emma with an open mind. Here are the characteristics I look for in a Jane Austen Novel:

  • Strong Female Protagonists
  • Some sort of lesson in humility
  • Humor(i.e Elizabeth Bennet and her father)
  • Regency era description of clothing(excluding the corsets, I think the description of clothes from different era is FASCINATING)

Going into the novel, I assumed Emma would be a trickster/conniving girl, and I didn’t know much about the other characters to make a sound judgment. Overall, I expected a lesson to be told about society and the roles different members of class play to each other. This is what I saw in Pride and Prejudice and something I enjoyed comparing in both movie adaptations. Now moving on to the next category!

My Reading Experience

Emma took me a little over a weekend to finish which is fairly quick for me. Classic Literature novels usually take me a week or me because of how dense the material is. I like to have a dictionary beside me as well as an audiobook version(if available) so I can soak in the story without being confused. This novel was much easier to read in my opinion and I found myself reading it in a conversational style. Even though Emma is a few years younger than me, I felt close to her character almost as if I was speaking to a friend. I enjoyed seeing her grow throughout the novel, and although I cringed at some moments(I’ll explain in the next category) I think it was an enjoyable reading experience overall. I actually read this the weekend of Valentine’s Day which made the experience even better. At the time I was wondering what I was going to read for the occasion as I don’t normally reading romance novels, but this was the perfect title. It had romance, but also humor which I thoroughly enjoyed. Now onto the last category!

What I Learned/Final Thoughts

This book had so many powerful lessons in it, and I could honestly talk for hours about what I thought…to sum it up shortly here is one phrase that I took away from this book:

Gossip is toxic not only to yourself, but everyone else around you.

At first I was really angry at Emma’s arrogance. I sympathized with Harriet’s character and wondered why they kept being friends. I thought about the toxic friendships I once had in my own life and cringed at the thought of staying with those people who drained so much from me. Then as the novel progressed, I saw how much Emma changed. She realized how privileged she was acting and that love is not a game to be won but a journey that is different for everyone. Mr. Martin may not have been the perfect match in Emma’s eyes, but you can obviously see how much he loved Harriet, and that’s really all that matters. Mr. Knightly and Emma’s relationship is something I refer to as bittersweet. I love how caring Mr. Knightly is as a character and how he cares about Emma, but I can not approve of the age gap between them. There is at least 16 years between them which could be ok in the regency era, but it’s something I can’t grasp as I read in in the 21st century. Some may argue that “love has no age” and I agree with that in some aspects but their age difference definitely bothered me. Putting that aside, it didn’t take away my love for the story, and although I wish I could change their ages in my head, I think their relationship can be seen as very loving. Overall, I enjoyed this novel and will be ordering a physical copy that I can hi-light very soon. I usually buy physical copies of classic literature for this reason, but unfortunately was in a pinch and succumbed to the ebook version instead.

I hope you enjoyed this post! I am excited to share the other books I read with my book club as I finish them, we have at least 3 or 4 to get through by the end of summer. Let me know down in the comments if you’ve read Emma, and/or what your favorite Jane Austen novel is. Mine still stands as Pride and Prejudice(I have a Pemberley Sweatshirt in my dresser as we speak). I hope you all have a wonderful day, and I will see you soon with a new post!

With Love & Magic,

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