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Word Count: 1,535
Jane Austens Emma is a novel of courtship Like all of Austens novels it centers around the marriage plot who will marry whom For what reasons will they marry Love practicality or necessity At the center of the story is the title character Emma Woodhouse a heiress who lives with her widowed father at their estate Hartfield At the beginning of the novel she is a self-satisfied young woman who feels no particular need to marry for she is in the rather unique condition of not needing a husband to supply her fortune At the beginning of the novel Emmas governess Miss Taylor has just married Mr Weston a wealthy man who owns Randalls a nearby estate The Westons the Woodhouses and Mr Knightly who owns the estate Donwell Abbey are at the top of Highbury society Mr Weston had been married earlier When his previous wife died he sent their one child Frank Churchill to be raised by her brother and his wife for the now-wealthy Mr Weston could not at that time provide for the boy Without Miss Taylor as a companion Emma adopts the orphan Harriet Smith as a prot Harriet lives at a nearby boarding school where she was raised and knows nothing of her parents Emma advises the innocent Harriet in virtually all things including the people with whom she should interact She suggests that Harriet not spend time with the Martins a local family of farmers whose son Robert is interested in Harriet Instead Emma plans to play matchmaker for Harriet and Mr Elton the vicar of the church in Highbury Emma seems to have some success in her attempts to bring together Harriet Smith and Mr Elton The three spend a good deal of leisure time together and he seems receptive to all of Emmas suggestions The friendship between Emma and Harriet does little good for either of them however Harriet indulges Emmas worst qualities giving her opportunity
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