| Quote #7
I am Lady Patroness, you know. It is my party. I will bring friends with me. (42.12)
Mrs. Elton expresses a deep need to be the top of the social ladder. Her grasping is funny – but it articulates an understanding of the importance of social networking in Austen’s novel.
| Quote #8
But consider—you need not be afraid of delegating power to me. I am no young lady on her preferment. Married women, you know, may be safely authorised. (42.14)
Mrs. Elton unwittingly parrots a common social convention: unmarried women are always scheming to get something (like a man’s attention) out of any social engagement. Married women are safe, because they no longer desire men. Hmm.
| Quote #9
But you were preparing yourself to be an excellent wife all the time you were at Hartfield. You might not give Emma such a complete education as your powers would seem to promise; but you were receiving a very good education from her, on the very material matrimonial point of submitting your own will, and doing as you were bid; and if Weston had asked me to recommend him a wife, I should certainly have named Miss Taylor. (5.11)
OK, we’ve got to admit, Mr. Knightley drives us crazy here. A wife should submit to her husband’s will. We sure hope he’s joking.