Emma Cultural Context

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Emma by Jane Austen
Cultural context
The novel I have studied is Emma by Jane Austen.
The cultural context to which we are introduced in the novel 'Emma' by Jane Austen, is the world of the middle classes in the nineteenth century. In this essay I will look, firstly, at the role of women in this world. I will examine the very limited opportunities a woman had in terms of education and finding a career which would allow her to live an independent life in the world of the novel. Secondly, I will discuss how Austen potrays the importance of social status in the carefully-structured affair of society. Finally, I will examine how marriage worked in Austen's time. Throughout the novel of 'Emma' Austen gives us an insight to what her life was like in 1816, which was when the novel was published. In my essay I will explain the cultural context of this novel. Throughout the novel of 'Emma' we see women have very limited opportunities and are treated like second class citizens in relation to work in the world of Jane Austen. We see that the only work opportunity for women is to become a governess. Of course, Emma woodhouse would never become a governess because she was “handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition,” Emma “had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her.” Emma could do what she wanted because of her wealth but that can't be said for most of the other characters in the novel such as Jane Fairfax, Harriet and Miss Bates. Jane, Harriet and Miss Bates are all poor.But Jane and Harriet have more in common by the fact that both are about the same age, beautiful, of good character, and orphans. They each know that if they do not marry above their social ranking, then they will live in poverty and at the mercy of others. Even though Jane is educated, talented and very much equal to Emma she has no wealth and must become a governess unless she marries someone with a high social standing. On the...
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