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Word Count: 1,383
The Woodhouses have a good deal of sway over the lives and affairs of the other members of their community In the first chapter of the novel the reader learn that Mr Woodhouse finds homes for maids in other households while Emma does essentially the same for her acquaintances in attempting to pair them off with husbands and wives The narrator presents this overzealous concern for other peoples well being as an entirely harmless characteristic in Mr Woodhouse at least While his intrusions into the personal lives of even non-family relations and frequent effusions of worry are bothersome to readers and characters alike Mr Woodhouse never actually does anyone the slightest bit of real or lasting harm Even Mr John Knightley cannot stay annoyed at him for very long Therefore Austen provides the character of Mr Woodhouse not only as light-hearted comedy but also to show a contrast between him and Emma Emma on the other hand is capable of doing real personal damage and her willful intrusions into the lives of her acquaintance are presented as arrogant presumption -- her characters major flaw The real evils of Emmas situation are the power of having rather too much of her own way and a disposition to think a little too well of herself The key difference between her acts of presumption and those of her father is that she has a stronger will and mind than he Her actions are therefore not only more harmful to others but also more conscious and deliberate Though she may like her father be acting out of good intentions she is fully aware of the ways in which she manipulates Emma not only sees that she is molding Harriets weaker mind she understands how best to do it If awareness makes her more responsible for her actions than the fumbling Mr Woodhouse it also increases the distance she has to fall when she acts irresponsibly
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