Themes and Issues
On a casual reading Emma may not seem to amount to very much. The story is slight: a number of young people who are unmarried when the book opens find partners and marry them some three hundred pages later. Exciting incidents are in distinctly short supply: among the most dramatic episodes in the book are the scenes where one young lady is frightened by meeting some gypsies, and another young lady is rude to an older woman. The mysteries seem trivial: to such questions as ‘Who has sent Jane Fairfax a piano?’ and ‘Why does Jane walk to the post office in the rain?’ some readers may feel like responding ‘Who cares?’. The setting is restricted, rarely moving outside the confines of a community that is little more than a large village. The number of characters is limited, and the social range also.
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