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by Jane Austen

Emma Morality and Ethics Quotes

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

Quote #1

One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other. (9.77)

Austen uses Emma to express a wisdom (and tolerance) which seems to be beyond her years. Perhaps this is because it’s directed at her father – for whom she’s often a different person entirely.

Quote #2

Emma was very compassionate; and the distresses of the poor were as sure of relief from her personal attention and kindness, her counsel and her patience, as from her purse. She understood their ways, could allow for their ignorance and their temptations, had no romantic expectations of extraordinary virtue from those for whom education had done so little; entered into their troubles with ready sympathy, and always gave her assistance with as much intelligence as good-will. (10.23)

Emma’s treatment of the old and poor is usually very considerate and pragmatic – an interesting contrast to her relationships with the young or the wealthy.

Quote #3

[…] she would gladly have submitted to feel yet more mistaken—more in error—more disgraced by mis-judgment, than she actually was, could the effects of her blunders have been confined to herself. (16.1)

Although Emma often imagines things which don’t exist, she’s never callous about their after-effects. Guilt becomes key to her transformation. Here, however, it’s only fleeting guilt.

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