The Flawed Character of Emma Woodhouse in Jane Austen's Emma

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The Flawed Character of Emma Woodhouse

In Emma Woodhouse, Jane Austen has created a wonderfully flawed heroine. Had Emma been perfect, her situation would have been of no interest to anyone; her flaws are what interest both reader and critic. Peter W. Graham is interested particularly with the first page of the novel where Emma is first introduced to the reader. He discusses how significant the beginning of the novel is to mapping out "Emma's personal development"(42). Walton A. Litz and Patricia Meyer Spacks are much more interested in what Emma's imagination shows about her development. Litz says that "[t]he basic movement of Emma is from delusion to self-recognition, from illusion to reality"(369). Spacks takes the opposite
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She has gained the love and respect of many, but whether or not she is truly in command of her "blessings" will only be seen with time and testing.

Emma, we see, is a devoted daughter; she continuously goes out of her way for her father keeping his mind off vexing matters, changing the subject and knowing the best ways and times to give him news so as not to upset him. In this aspect Emma never flags in her devotion to him and is caring from start to finish. In the first chapter we are given an example of how deftly Emma changes the topic of conversation from a distressing topic to one easier on Mr. Woodhouse's mind. The two of them were discussing Miss Taylor, now Mrs. Weston's marriage and how they shall be going to visit her at her new home often.

"My dear, how am I to get so far? Randells is such a distance. I could not walk half so far."
"No, papa, nobody thought of your walking. We must go in the carriage to be sure."
"The carriage! But James will not like to put the horses out for such a little way; – and where are the poor horses to be while we are paying our visit?"
"They are to be put into Mr. Weston's stable, papa. You know we have settled that already. We talked it over with Mr. Weston last night. And as for James, you may be very sure he will always like going to Randells, because of his daughter's being housemaid there. I only doubt
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