Emma Woodhouse

Emma Woodhouse is the main character in the story titled "Emma". She is 19 to 21 years old depending on the version, and her mother died when she was a child. She's been raised by her kindly father and a governness. She is a member of the richest family in town and she is kindly but what we would in modern times think of as a snob. It's important to remember that this was "normal" trained-from-birth behavior back in the regency times. It was quite normal for her to think of those of lower classes to be not appropriate for her to talk with. Still, it bothers many readers in modern times (including me). Also, many of her cutting or slighting remarks can make her an unappealing character at times.

Unlike many of the other Austen stories, Emma has no desire at all to get married - she states quite flatly that she has money, she has position, and when she ages into a rich older woman she will maintain both. She has no incentive at all to give up her independence just to have a husband. She'll stay with her father, have fun arranging marriages for others, and be quite content. She doesn't seem to ever have been in love or even in "like".

1996 Emma
Out of all the movie versions I adore the Gwyneth Paltrow version the best. This is the only version of Emma that I can really relate to. In this one they tone down her egregious bashing-others personality and they show she is very sympathetic. She goes to a poor woman's house and dives in with love, hand-feeding the woman. She has no qualms at all about "getting dirty". The time she snaps at Miss Bates at the picnic it's primarily because she herself was just publicly snubbed by the Eltons. She is always quite sad when she realizes she's done something unthinking. Also, I really like that the made her "almost 22" - so she is more of an adult and ready for the decision of marrying a much older man who has been almost a relative her entire life.

They do a good job showing the "simple elegance" of Regency wear - the updo hairstyles, the thin, delicate necklaces.

Emma Woodhouse

Emma Woodhouse

Emma Woodhouse

Harriet with Emma

Emma Woodhouse

Emma by Jane Austen - my main page
Buy Emma / Gwyneth Paltrow from Amazon.com
Regency Era Clothing Photos

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