Emma: Episode 9, Chapters 42-45

In this episode, we read chapters 42 to 45 of Emma. We talk about the dropping of clues about Jane and Frank, Donwell Abbey and Mr Knightley’s arrangements for the strawberry picking, how nobody is enjoying themselves at Box Hill, and the pressures on Jane.

The character we discuss is Emma, and in the historical section Ellen talks about watering places. In the popular culture section, Harriet reflects back on the screen adaptations of Emma, considering her favourite moments from each version, and then how they dealt with some of the major characters.

Things we mention:

General and character discussion:

Historical discussion:

Popular culture discussion:

  • Adaptations:
    • BBC, Emma (1972) – starring Doran Godwin and John Carson
    • Miramax, Emma (1996) – starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Jeremy Northam
    • ITV, Emma (1996) – starring Kate Beckinsale and Mark Strong
    • BBC, Emma (2009) – starring Romola Garai and Jonny Lee Miller
    • Working Title Films, Emma (2020) – starring Anya Taylor-Joy and Johnny Flynn
  • Modernisations:
    • Paramount Pictures, Clueless (1995) – starring Alicia Silverstone and Paul Rudd
    • YouTube, Pemberley Digital, Emma Approved (2013) – starring Joanna Sotomura and Brent Bailey

Creative commons music used:

4 thoughts on “<em>Emma</em>: Episode 9, Chapters 42-45”

  1. So glad when these drop; I’m an addict. It seems we’re back to Miss Bates’s conversation and her clues. I was very anxious to know whether Mr. Knightley had attended Mrs. Elton’s Emma-snubbing, post-picnic evening party. And Emma wanted to know! “Mr. Knightley was there, too, was he?” He had been so stern with Emma at Box Hill, and I wanted to know if he was still on Team Emma, or whether she had crossed some line where even the Eltons were in a better moral position in his eyes. It is Mrs. Elton who finds the governess position for Jane, and Miss Bates is so grateful to her for it; maybe, after all, that was the kinder way to behave toward Jane than Emma’s formal, jealous civility?

    But Miss Bates says, “No, not Mr. Knightley; he declined it from the first….” Mrs. Elton extended this invitation when they had gone to walk together after Emma insulted Miss Bates. “It was settled so, upon the Hill, while we were walking about with Mr. Knightley.” Mr. Knightley declines the invitation, but decides to let Emma know how badly done her behavior was. Miss Bates, thanks for telling us all of this – in your special way.

    Enjoyed the adaptations overview, and noticed how the 2009 version keeps slipping into finalist position for overall respectability, even though other versions have their higher points. The one Harriet mentions in the Gwyneth Paltrow version – Emma’s anxiety at Harriet’s not being asked to dance at the ball – is one I think Ellen might enjoy, because it reproduces the literary effect Austen produces: Emma’s anxiety and anger, followed by surprise and boundless joy when Knightley and Harriet suddenly appear at the top of the set. The scene can probably be appreciated in isolation by someone who knows the book, whereas another “best” moment in my opinion, the “it darted through her with the speed of an arrow” moment in the web series “Emma Approved,” probably requires watching the whole series to appreciate.

    • Miss Bates’ clues are so easy to miss, and yet when you read carefully it is all there! I spent years rereading the book and not noticing this, because I wasn’t paying attention to her.

      I think you make a good point about the Gwyneth Paltrow ball scene being one that can be enjoyed in isolation, whereas moments in Emma Approved really require the whole series for context. (Though probably my favourite “darted through her with the speed of an arrow” moment is Clueless, because it is so deliberately over the top.)

  2. I was thinking when you discussed Emma’s apologetic visit to Miss Bates and her attempts to be kind to Jane, that this occurs at the same time that Harriet is developing a crush on Mr Knightley, and Emma is (consequently, though I may have the order of events muddled) drifting away from Harriet, simultaneously realising that it is in fact Jane who is the person she could have been and should be friends with.
    Also, on a recent re-reading, I now find it hard to forgive Frank for his selfish and calculated behaviour toward everyone, especially Jane and Emma, who he uses shamelessly, even accounting for his assertion that he thought Emma suspected the engagement.

    • I think by this time, Harriet’s crush on Mr Knightley is well established. Although I wonder (and I hadn’t thought of this until reading your comment) whether Emma’s increased recognition of Jane might in fact start the day before, when Jane leaves the strawberry picking, telling Emma that her spirits are ‘exhausted’.
      I also find it hard to forgive Frank, and think Jane deserves better! (Currently editing Episode 10, where we talk about Frank.)


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