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Quotes

Quote #1

Metaphorical expressions such as "betrothed," "spouse," "heavenly lover," and "eternal wedlock," which constantly recur in sermons, stirred previously unknown depths of sweet emotion in her soul. (I.6.4)

As a young girl in the convent school, all of Emma’s fledgling physical desires are channeled into her religious fervor, and not allowed to exhibit themselves in any way.

Quote #2

She played boldly, sweeping up and down the keyboard without faltering. Thus shaken by her vigorous touch, the old instrument, whose strings jangled, could be heard at the other end of the village if the window was open […] (I.7.6)

All of Emma’s aggression, given no other outlet, is unleashed upon the unfortunate old piano.

Quote #3

The housewives all admired [Emma] for her thriftiness, Charles’s patients for her courtesy, the poor for her generosity.

Yet she was full of covetous desires, anger and hatred. The smooth folds of her dress concealed a tumultuous heart, and her modest lips told nothing of her torment. She was in love with Léon, and she sought solitude because it allowed her to revel in thoughts of him at leisure. (II.5.41-42)

Here, Emma demonstrates her ability to go along with society’s rules on the surface, while she thinks naughty thoughts on the inside. We have to wonder how long she can keep up this tense dual life.

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