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Quotes

Quote #1

She would notice her; she would improve her; she would detach her from her bad acquaintance, and introduce her into good society; she would form her opinions and her manners. It would be an interesting, and certainly a very kind undertaking; highly becoming her own situation in life, her leisure, and powers. (3.12)

Harriet becomes Emma’s fix-it project out of a strange combination of sympathy and boredom. Emma longs to become an author – of another person’s social reputation.

Quote #2

Human nature is so well disposed towards those who are in interesting situations, that a young person, who either marries or dies, is sure of being kindly spoken of. (22.1)

With typical irony, Austen’s narrator offers a tongue-in-cheek observation. Most people only stop being critical when you’re officially off the market (the marriage market or the life market). And even then, the goodwill doesn’t last too long.

Quote #3

Warmth and tenderness of heart, with an affectionate, open manner, will beat all the clearness of head in the world, for attraction. […] I mention no names; but happy the man who changes Emma for Harriet! (31.15)

Despite her ego when it comes to match-making (or social hierarchy), Emma’s valuation of her friend is selfless to the point of being misguided

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