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by Jane Austen

Emma Foolishness and Folly Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)

Quote #7

[…] certainly silly things do cease to be silly if they are done by sensible people in an impudent way. Wickedness is always wickedness, but folly is not always folly.—It depends upon the character of those who handle it. (26.2)

Frank’s haircut isn’t nearly as troubling as the fact that he doesn’t make a big deal of it. Emma suggests that this could mean he undertakes such "folly" on a regular basis – and is now therefore immune to it.

Quote #8

Emma's very good opinion of Frank Churchill was a little shaken the following day, by hearing that he was gone off to London, merely to have his hair cut. (25.1)

Looks matter in Austen’s novel – but the ability to appear naturally good-looking is akin to being naturally genteel. Too much effort seems gauche. And, in Frank’s case, spendthrift.

Quote #9

What right had he to come among us with affection and faith engaged, and with manners so very disengaged? What right had he to endeavour to please, as he certainly did—to distinguish any one young woman with persevering attention, as he certainly did—while he really belonged to another?—How could he tell what mischief he might be doing? (46.45)

Emma accuses Frank of the same recklessness with love which she herself could be guilty of.

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