Title

Privilege or Prison: Limitations of the Gentry in Emma

Presenter Information

Cassandra Nilsen

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Location

SURC 201

Start Date

17-5-2012

End Date

17-5-2012

Abstract

“Privilege or Prison: Limitations of the Gentry in Emma” enters a literary debate regarding the privileged life of Emma Woodhouse in Jane Austen’s novel, Emma. On one side of the debate is the belief that it is Emma’s privilege that causes the troubling situations she finds herself in, while the other side argues that Emma is not as privileged as she first appears. By researching critical essays on the subject, as well as examining Emma’s actions through her relationships with other characters in the novel, this analysis demonstrates that privilege for Emma comes at a personal cost. While she may have all the comforts money and status can secure, her life is quite constricted by the rules of the society in which she lives as well as the demands of her relationship with her father. Consequently, even though Emma may appear to be making independent decisions throughout the novel, the people around her heavily influence her choices, taking away the very freedom her level of privilege should allow.

Faculty Mentor(s)

Christine Sutphin

Additional Mentoring Department

English

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May 17th, 8:50 AM May 17th, 9:10 AM

Privilege or Prison: Limitations of the Gentry in Emma

SURC 201

“Privilege or Prison: Limitations of the Gentry in Emma” enters a literary debate regarding the privileged life of Emma Woodhouse in Jane Austen’s novel, Emma. On one side of the debate is the belief that it is Emma’s privilege that causes the troubling situations she finds herself in, while the other side argues that Emma is not as privileged as she first appears. By researching critical essays on the subject, as well as examining Emma’s actions through her relationships with other characters in the novel, this analysis demonstrates that privilege for Emma comes at a personal cost. While she may have all the comforts money and status can secure, her life is quite constricted by the rules of the society in which she lives as well as the demands of her relationship with her father. Consequently, even though Emma may appear to be making independent decisions throughout the novel, the people around her heavily influence her choices, taking away the very freedom her level of privilege should allow.