Problem or issue:
After the entrance of Jane Fairfax into the scene, the readers as well felt rejoice and charm to go through the essence of the story more interestingly. Jane and Emma belong to the same. Both of the two women are beautiful as well as sensible. That is the most effective reason for Emma for showing such kind of jealous attitude towards Jane. The reserved attitude that Jane wishes to carry with her personality has been highly criticized by Emma. Austen has portrayed the character contrast of Emma and Jane in such a way that readers can easily differentiate the essence of the two characters (Brown, 2014). As per the depiction of Austen, Emma intends to dominate the people. In the name of searching of a gentle person, Emma tends to force Harriet to choose a right decision. She is least bother about the aims and wish of Harriet. She always keeps a ungrateful attitude towards Jane Fairfax. Frank is having a soft corner towards Jane. Emma instead of having no such feeling towards Frank tends to flirt him making abusing statements regarding Jane. As a result, the relation between Jane and Emma has become contradictory. As per the point of view of Ganjoo (2013), the character of Emma has been established in order to highlight the positivity of Jane Fairfax.
New situation arose when Emma tried to lead a solitary life surrounding her. From the very beginning, Emma was looking like a funky girl being habituated with healthy flirting. At the middle, Jane played a major role to bring a drastic change in the life of Emma. People were unable to take the lighthearted attitude of Emma. They considered her as women of dishonest nature. Knightley had a major crush towards Jane. On the other hand, Emma as well liked Knightley. As Knightley already faced her casual attitude towards him, he never intended to pay his attention for Emma (Mullins, 2013). On the other hand, Jane had less feeling for Knightley. By showing a complicated and twisty relationship among Jane, Emma and Knightley, Austen intended to represent the social status of late eighteenth century and their fickle characteristics. Jane has been represented as the embodiment of solace. She is quite reserved and balanced to take any kind of sudden decision. On one hand, Emma represents fancy and dominant power of joy and energy having an irresistible strength to control the entire world. On the other hand, Jane embodies solace and peace (Olsson, 2012). She never intended to express herself in front of the crowd. That is the reason; her latent desire for Frank was kept unknowing to many persons. The lack of immaturity of Emma repeatedly helped Jane to win the match. However, towards the end of the novel, Austen decided to resolve the conflict between Emma and Jane. They became a good friend. Moreover, the loyalty and co-operation that the two ladies showed towards each other was commendable. This has also been considered as one of the major contributions of Jane Fairfax for changing the dominating attitude of Emma.
It has become a matter of argument that why this particular novel has been entitled as Emma. Jane Fairfax has also played an important role to draw the reader’s attention. Therefore, some of the renowned contemporaries have pointed out that Jane Fairfax can also be considered as the real protagonist of Austen’s novel. After being a close contact with Jane Fairfax, Emma has learnt the meaning of life. Throughout the entire story, she liked to show a very casual outlook towards her friends and fellows (Setyawati, 2013). Her dominating attitude may embarrass some of her nearest and dearests. However, by observing the moderate attitude of Jane, Emma learnt to behold the entire world in a different way. She learnt how to maintain the personality of a woman without being impatient and ungrateful to other. If she fails to pay respect and dignity to others, nobody will pay her the same. This is the realistic part of life.
Jane Fairfax is such an energetic character who has provided lessons throughout the entire novel. People should learn how to deal with a stranger, how to behave with a senior, how to make friendship and how to express feelings and emotions. The narrative method of Austen allows the readers to consider Emma as the real protagonist. However, it has been argued that the quality of a protagonist is more endowed with the characteristics Jane Fairfax (Spratt, 2014). At the end of the novel, Emma has changed all her outlooks. She avoids dominating her friends like Harriet to marry the person of her choice; rather she supports to take an individual decision. Therefore, it has been observed that Jane Austen is the main protagonist with the help of whom Emma learns to taste the life in a different way. Jane Austen’s perspective of life is well matched with the journey of Jane Fairfax (Trepanier, 2014). Therefore, she can also be accepted as the real protagonist.
Austen has drawn Emma as a child rather than a woman. Her short tempered attitude the friends, her dominating outlook to the near ones, her casual gesture to the men is simply commendable for catching the attention of the readers. At the same time, it is also undeniable that readers have received a negative message in order to make a character development of Emma. On the other hand, Jane Fairfax has appeared into the scene rendering a positive energy and attitude. People have provided a positive response to go through such kinds of character like Jane. She is the symbol of peace and solace. From this particular depiction of character, people can learn how the human nature should be.
At the same time, Jane is also not devoid of some of the negative effects as well. Readers do not like the introvert nature of Jane. She takes more time to make an effective communication with people. As a result, Austen has made a shadow on the character of Jane. Emma on the other hand, being extremely expressed and lighthearted is able to draw the attention of people quickly. However, the contribution of Jane Fairfax Austen’s Emma is truly recognizable. The contemporaries of Austen have highly appreciated of her extraordinary creation. Therefore, this particular novel has created a recognizable place in the field of history of history of English literature.
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Brown, M. (2014). Emma's Depression. Studies in Romanticism, 53(1), 3.
Ganjoo, P. (2013). Conversation among Women in Jane Austen’s Fiction with Special Reference to Emma.
Mullins, C. J. (2013). Negation in Emma: Austen's Inversion of the Role of the Antagonist (Doctoral dissertation, Kent State University).
Olsson, A. M. (2012). Views on Children, Childhood and Education in Jane Austen’s Emma.
Setyawati, D. (2013). The Analysis of Deixis of the Novel “Emma” by Jane Austen. Skripsi.
Spratt, D. (2014). Taking Emma to the Street: Toward a Civic Engagement Model of Austen Pedagogy. Persuasions On-Line.
Trepanier, L. (2014). Marriage and the Marketplace in Jane Austen’s Emma and Mansfield Park. The Free Market and the Human Condition: Essays on Economics and Culture, 61.