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The Flawed Character of Emma Woodhouse in Jane Austen’s Emma

The Flawed Character of Emma Woodhouse

In Emma Woodhouse, Jane Austen has created a wonderfully flawed heroine. Had Emma been perfect, her situation would have been of no interest to anyone; her flaws are what interest both reader and critic. Peter W. Graham is interested particularly with the first page of the novel where Emma is first introduced to the reader. He discusses how significant the beginning of the novel is to mapping out “Emma’s personal development”(42). Walton A. Litz and Patricia Meyer Spacks are much more interested in what Emma’s imagination shows about her development. Litz says that “[t]he basic movement of Emma is from delusion to self-recognition, from illusion to reality”(369). Spacks takes the opposite argument suggesting Emma doesn’t grow but is simply alleviated of her boredom and her imagination disappears with it. I think Emma’s growth throughout the novel is pronounced; she starts out loveable enough but with much to learn. She grows from self-delusion to self-awareness and learns to see truth and not just what she wants to see. She also grows in her social vision, although not as much as one may hope. All in all Emma makes significant developments and it is easy to imagine that with more time and Mr. Knightley’s influence she will only continue learning and growing.

At the beginning of the novel we are made very aware of Emma’s character, both her strengths and her flaws. She starts out, “seem[ing] to unite some of the best blessings in existence”(Austen, 1; Italics, Graham). Her flaws are “at present so unperceived that they d[o] not by any means rank as misfortunes with her” (1) but instead of seeming a fortunate thing Peter W. Graham states that “by naming what Emma has hitherto avo…

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…ce we are never told.

All in all Emma makes great strides in her development and there is no section of her life in which she doesn’t improve in part. Having come this far already and with Knightley’s continued guidance we can only imagine Emma continuing to learn and grow. As we have already seen in her role as daughter, she has been tested and not been found wanting. This definitely bodes well for any tests remaining in Emma’s future.

Works cited

Austen, Jane. Emma. 1972. Norton Critical ed. New York, NY: W.W. Norton

Innocence in William Blake’s The Divine Image

Innocence in Blake’s The Divine Image

Blake was both a poet and an artist and he created many Illuminated works which combined the two. These forms, each powerful in their own right are even more so when used together as in “The Divine Image.” In analyzing this piece I will be looking at the elements and principles of art, the corresponding ‘elements and principles’ of poetry and how they support one another to convey William Blake’s idea of Innocence.

Elements are the fundamental building blocks used in either art or poetry. In art they are line, shape/form, value, texture, colour (which I wasn’t able to deal with in this case as the only reproduction was black and white) and space. In poetry one might classify the elements as word choice, word placement, scansion or meter, capitalization and punctuation.

Principles are what are produced by putting the elements together. In art they are focal point, movement, subordinate area (background or setting), contrast and repetition. Interestingly in poetry several are similar, namely movement, contrast and repetition. Other things one might classify as principles of poetry are rhyme, line treatment, and tone.

Of all the elements of art I will be dealing with, line and shape are by far the most important. All the figures are outlined and the vines running throughout the picture constitute line as do the letters. Line is also essential in the creation of value as this was printed on a press and all the ink is the same value. To create changes in value Blake used different densities and numbers of lines. The only texture in this work is a sort of implied texture that comes with creating value through a build up of line; some areas tend to acquire a ridged look. The use o…

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… contrast of the living and the fire but neither the vine nor the figures are consumed. This presents an image of innocence similar to that of the Lion and the Lamb.

Both the poem and the image serve to re-enforce each other as they present the freedom, harmony, and safety found in the state of Innocence. It seems fitting that these together would be called an Illumination as they help shed light on Blake’s true meaning.

Works Cited and Consulted

Blake, William. Songs of Innocence and of Experience. Intro. Geoffry Keynes. New York: Oxford University Press, 1967.

Easson, Kay. “The Art of the Book.” Blake in His Time. Essick and Pearce ed. 1978. (35-51).

Frye, Northrop. “Poetry and Design in William Blake.” The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism. 10 (Sept., 1951) 35-42.

Mellor, Anne. Blake’s Human form divine. U of California P Berkeley; 1974.

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