Vexed Beyond What Could Have Been
"She was vexed beyond what could have been expressed-almost beyond what she could conceal. Never had she felt so agitated, mortified, grieved, at any circumstance in her life. She was most forcibly struck. The truth of his representation there was no denying. She felt it at her heart.
How could she have been so brutal, so cruel to Miss Bates!-How could she have exposed herself to such ill opinion in any one she valued! And how suffer him to leave her without saying one word of gratitude, of concurrence, of common kindness!" (Austen#)This passage from Jane Austen's novel Emma uses many important fictional conventions that are represented throughout the novel. More specifically used are narration, tone, and characters.
This passage happens after Mr. Knightley reprimands Emma for the way that she treats Miss Bates during their picnic trip to box hill. This passage is a point where Emma's self-understanding, brought out by the remorse she feels about her treatment towards Miss Bates, grows as well as the attachment she is starting to feel towards Mr. Knightley. This emotional moment for Emma is expressed well, but not to the full potential due to the direct narration used unlike other emotional scenes such as Mr.
Elton and Mr. Knightley's proposals. With this type of direct narration we get a sense of Emma's true feelings and how Austen's tone is unique at this point. This revelation was possible because of Mr. Knightley being honest with Emma.
He is a character that Emma respects and his words truly strike true. This passage is important to the novel Emma because the narration and tone involved illustrates a unique feeling brought on by the characters in the novel.First of the narration in Emma is in third person during the novel. This type of narration can tell the audience what each individual character thinks and feels, as well as also contributing to the story with insight and commentary. Through the novel the narrator uses mostly free indirect discourse.
In this specific passage the narration is more direct than normal due to the sorrow that Emma feels because of how she treated Miss Bates. The narration at this point accesses Emma's remorse intensely which leads to the incapacity to grasp the seriousness of how Emma feels. Almost as if her thoughts have overwhelmed the narrator's ability to communicate them. An example of this is "She was vexed beyond what could have been expressed-almost beyond what she could conceal."(Austen#) It is clear that Emma truly feels bad, but since the narration style is so direct it is hard to understand how sorrowful she feels.
This is important because it is one of the truly emotional moments out of the entire novel and the narration limits what the audience can gain from the scene. The narration of the scene does allow Austen's tone to change from the normal ironic ways.It is observable that Austen changes her ironic tone normally used to a more sympathetic and realistic in this passage. An example of Austen's normal tone is "In the same room at once with the woman he had just married, the woman he had wanted to marry and the woman whom he had been expected to marry" (Austen 32) This tone shows Austen's way of poking fun at the characters in her story, doing so most often with irony.In contrast to the main ironic tone through the novel, the tone of this scene is more expressive and real and does not confuse the reader.
This type of sympathetically allows the reader to see what Emma truly feels and isn't clouded by the normal ironic/satirical tone that can make simple matters so puzzling. An example from this passage of the sympathetic tone is "Never had she felt so agitated, mortified, grieved, at any circumstance in her life. She was most forcibly struck. The truth of his representation there was no denying." (Austen#) The Reason that Austen does this is to display to the reader that a significant change in Emma is happening. Before when Mr.
Knightley warnings Emma on her actions against Harriet and her love affairs, Emma just shrugs off his advice and stays strong headed. With the significant change that happens to Emma the sympathetic tone present in this passage is necessary. Though the tone plays an important part the characters involved matter as well.Lastly are the characters roles in this revelation of Emma's rude and cynical nature toward Miss Bates.
The key characters are Frank Churchill, Mr. Knightley, and Miss Bates. Each character contributes to Emma's change. First off is Frank Churchill because of the way he provoked Emma with his flirtatious attitude on Box Hill. Such as when he said "she only demands from each of you either one thing very clever, be it prose or verse, original or repeated-or two things moderately clever-or three things very dull indeed." (Austen #) with this provocation Emma then begins to be rude and sarcastic towards Miss Bates.
This is the conflict that leads Mr. Knightley to scolds Emma for her actions. When he makes Miss Bates situation clear to Emma, Something clicks and she discovers how her attitude was not right. Because this came from Mr. Knightley she takes it to heart. An example of Emma's regard towards Mr. Knightley and what he thinks of her is "The truth of his representation there was no denyingâ€¦â€¦How could she have exposed herself to such ill opinion in any one she valued! And how suffer him to leave her without saying one word of gratitude, of concurrence, of common kindness!" (Austen#) it is apparent that Emma cares of Mr. Knightley's opinion and because of this she grows more attached to him. This is a critical point in the novel because it will either bring her to or separate her from true love, thus the true love being Mr. Knightley.
The characters involved are important because of the way they shape and guide Emma to this specific scene.In conclusion, this is a unique and important scene in Emma Because of the true emotion that the narration, tone and characters manage to bring out of Emma. It allows for the plot to commence toward Emma finding true love with Knightly, as well as becoming a better person and treating others more respectfully and less rude. This scene was successful in being one of the most expressive scenes in the novel because of the tone and type of narration that Austen chose to write it with.
It was still limited due to the third person narration throughout the novel because it is hard to describe ones true feelings from that way. The unique sympathetic tone does well to convey Emma's true sincerity in her feelings and betters the scene.
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