Intentions Destined for Misinterpretation: Emma by Jane Austen

2121 WordsDec 6, 20129 Pages
Anna Caldwell 26 April 2012 ENG 230-012 Intentions Destined for Misinterpretation In a novel overflowing with misconstrued romance, “Emma” by Jane Austen succeeds in misleading the readers, as well as the actual characters on the matter of who is really in love with whom. Although it is teeming with romantic dialogue, the characters have a tendency to misunderstand confessions of love, as well as comments made in passing concerning the secret feelings of others. Through forms of narration and dialogue, Jane Austen forces the reader to interpret these subtexts and draw conclusions concerning the actual romantic intensions of her complex characters, while also deceiving readers on an adventure of romantic deception. One of the main…show more content…
If this text is compared to a comment made by Mr. Elton in Chapter 6, in which he describes the shape of Harriet’s eye as “peculiar” (Pg. 39), then a reader could further conclude that Mr. Elton might not have been referring to Harriet in the riddle. The final unveiling of Mr. Elton’s true feelings for Emma and disregard for Harriet is slowly unfolded in Chapter 13. Emma and Mr. Elton are on their way to the Weston’s party, and Harriet cannot attend because she has fallen ill. Upon the news, Mr. Elton shows more concern for Emma than Harriet, as he states, “I hope not of a putrid infectious sort… Indeed, you should care of yourself as well as your friend. Let me entreat you to run no risks.” (Pg. 94) This blatant statement shows a deeper concern for Emma’s health, and only mentions Harriet’s ill state in regards to possibly causing harm to Emma. Austen further instigates these thoughts into the reader’s minds as she expounds in the chapter about how Mr. Elton fails to inquire more about Harriet, and still goes out to the party without her or a second thought. Textually, this is supported by Emma’s narration, as she is shown thinking it strange that Mr. Elton would leave Harriet behind. Accompanied by the thought, is an after thought of Emma’s where she excuses a single man like Mr. Elton’s blatant disregard for Harriet by thinking, “...such a passion for dining out; a dinner engagement is so high in the class of their

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