Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Lessons from Emma

I have had a wonderful time in Texas this summer. I arrived at the beginning of June, and unfortunately will be off next Wednesday, but there have been some great memories, wonderful relationships created, and many things to look forward to next year.

One of the things I have done while down here was read Emma, by Jane Austen. My reading has been a little scattered recently, with multiple books progressing slowly, and I have to admit,Emma took me a little bit of reading to get into it. She is just so purely annoying! Emma Woodhouse is the kind of snobbish person I want little to do with in ordinary life. (Which has caused me to spend a little time evaluating myself...) However, something that I admire about her is she takes criticism from those she respects and grows from it.

At the beginning she is very selfishly motivated in all her daily activities, even in charity. She doesn't assist others out of love, but out of how it makes her appear and expectations those around her have. She takes Harriet in because she feels she, with her superior position, can introduce Harriet to society (ironically, Emma takes it as an insult when Mrs. Elton offers to do the same thing for her). Honestly, Harriet was much more tolerable and respectfully humble before Emma got to her.

At one point, she makes some painful remarks to Miss Bates. Mr. Knightly, her brother-in-law who she has known since her youth, tells her, bluntly though respectfully, she is in the wrong. Immediately Emma recognizes and attempts to repent by heart-fully attending to the Bateses. It's a change that is apparent to only the reader because nothing changes outwardly. She still visits frequently, as always, but her inward thoughts, her private notations and observations, change greatly.

It's something that I know I need to work on myself. It's so easy to get wrapped up in doing the right thing for the wrong reasons, and though it's not observable to others, it eventually becomes noticeable in attitude or work ethic. Even today, I found how I take criticism from certain people as a personal attack, rather than an opportunity to grow and develop better habits- something I can work on continually.

1 comment:

Atzi said...

Hey Emma sounds interesting!