Emma And The Theme Of Encounters With Strangers

1264 Words6 Pages
Carter Waller
ENG 327
Professor McAllister
Assignment Two
Emma and the Theme of Encounters with Strangers

Jane Austen’s Emma is a novel dominated by obvious themes like romantic love, gender roles, and family. These themes structure the novel wholly, but deeper down, there are less noticeable themes that are significant in themselves. In Emma, the overlooked theme of characters’ encounters with strangers plays a critical role because of its addition to the reader’s perspectives to multiple aspects of the novel. Encounters with strangers are important because, first, it demonstrates that strangeness, when unsettling the conditions of society’s communication, makes familiarity more attractive to an individual. Second, after evaluating the society’s treatment of strangers in the setting of the town of Highbury, it becomes clear that the theme and novel endorse a conservative, simple society. The instances of encounters with strangers in Emma are used to manipulate the reader in order to convince them that Highbury’s entire society needs new faces or new news to gossip about. Upon evaluating Emma’s two most prominent strangers, Frank Churchill and Jane Fairfax, and their encounters amongst society highlight the importance of which positive qualities are more attractive when temporary, and which qualities are more attractive over time.
First, the theme of encounters with strangers in Emma is dictated largely by the scenes where Frank Churchill or Jane Fairfax hold

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