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      Something Wicked This Way Comes...   10/09/2019

      The Autumn Supporter Giveaway!       Welcome to the very first of the seasonal BCF supporter giveaways! This month also marks one year since I took on the forum, so I want to say an extra huge thank you to all of you for keeping this place going. I have a little bit more to say about that later but, for now, let's get to the giveaway!     The Autumn Giveaway winner will be getting two Penguin Little Black Classics, The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe and To Be Read At Dusk by Charles Dickens. Both of these little books contain three atmospheric short stories, perfect for autumnal evenings. The winner will also get Mary Shelley tea (a lavender and vanilla black tea) from Rosie Lea Tea's Literary Tea Collection (https://www.rosieleatea.co.uk/collections/literary-tea-collection) and a chocolate skull, to really get that spooky atmosphere .   and...   A special treat for a special month. The winner will choose one of the following recent paperback releases from the independent bookshop Big Green Bookshop:       The Wych Elm by Tana French A House of Ghosts by W.C. Ryan Melmoth by Sarah Perry The Familiars by Stacey Halls  The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White   The winner will be chosen via the usual random selection process in one week. Patreon supporters are entered automatically. If you aren't a patreon supporter but you'd like to join in with this giveaway, you can support here: https://www.patreon.com/bookclubforum.   I really hope you're all going to like this introduction to the seasonal giveaways. It's been a lot of fun to put together. Other chocolate skulls may have been harmed during the selection process…     
Kell

Jane Austen Book Group - Emma

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(There is already an Emma discussion thread as it was a regular reading circle book previously - the two threads will be merged at the end of August)

 

The fourth book being read in the Jane Austen Book Group (throughout July and August) is Emma:

 

Often said to be Jane Austen's most perfect novel, Emma" is also the perfect read - with a very imperfect - but loveable - heroine...Beautiful, clever and rich, Emma Woodhouse thinks she knows best. She only wants to help others arrange things as she thinks they should be done, and, convinced she's just not destined to find true love herself, she believes she must instead devote herself to playing Cupid for others. But absolutely nothing goes to plan - and in the process, Emma has a lot of learning to do: about others, but most of all about herself...

 

~~***~~



In deference to those who may be reading it for the first time - if you're going to talk about a major plot point, please state which chapter your post relates to and use the spoiler tags, so that those who haven't yet reached that point will know to wait a while before reading that post!

Some discussion questions to consider:

DO NOT READ THE FIRST SET OF QUESTIONS BEFORE READING THE BOOK - THERE MAY BE SPOILERS!

 

 

1. Why is Emma so determined to "improve" Harriet Smith?

2. Why isn't Emma able to like Jane Fairfax?

3. Why does Emma remain opposed to Harriet marrying Robert Martin, even after the projected match with Mr. Elton falls through?

4. Why is Emma willing to overlook Frank Churchill's faults?

5. How different are the motives of Mrs. Elton in taking up Jane Fairfax and Emma in improving Harriet Smith?

6. What role does the visit to Donwell Abbey play in the development of Emma's feelings for Mr. Knightley?

7. Why does Emma insult Mrs. Bates during the Box Hill outing? Why does she realize how hurtful it was only after Mr. Knightley confronts her?

8. Why does it take Emma so long to realize she loves Mr. Knightley? Why is Emma's understanding so rapid once Harriet reveals her own love for him?

9. According to the novel, are Jane Fairfax and Frank Churchill justified in keeping their engagement a secret? What are their prospects for a happy marriage?

10. Why does Mr. Knightley love Emma, even though he sees her faults so clearly?

11. According to the novel, does Mr. Knightley have any faults?

 

 

For Further Reflection

1. What might motivate someone to try to arrange the romantic relationships of another person?

2. Why are people sometimes unaware of their own feelings toward others?

3. How important are similar economic and social backgrounds to long-term romantic relationships?

 

(You do not have to answer all, or indeed, any, of these questions, they are meant only as points for you to perhaps mull over as you read, and provoke more discussion. Please feel free to ask and answer any questions that come up as you read.)

Edited by Kell

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I started reading this and have found myself laughing many times. Emma is such a blind little snob, but at least she has a good heart!

 

 

I'm near the part where Mr. Elton professes his live to Emma, after she has really been believing that he's in love with Harriet. Classic!

 

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I just finished this tonight and am about to post my review on the reviews blog, and on my own book blog. I really enjoyed it, and found myself liking Emma much more than I thought I would. I don't know why I always consider this to be my least favorite Austen. Now I don't think I even HAVE a least favorite Austen! :D

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See, Emma is still my least favourite of the Austen's I've read so far. It was also the very first one I read and it almost turned me right off reading any more of her books. My problem was that I though Emma was such an uppity little madam and deserved a good, hard slap for meddling in everyone's lives in that way. The only one I really agreed with was Mr Knightly, who also seemed to think (much of the time) that Emma should take a long, hard look at how she treated people.

 

I also found most of the chitter-chatter very boring and found many of the characters to be exceedingly dull - especially the Miss Bates - utterly, utterly annoying! I couldn't have stood to be around them for more than about 10 seconds max!

 

Emma thinks herself far too clever and she's so flippin' sure of herself that I heartily wanted her to fall flat on her face come the end - I wanted NO happy ending for her at all - I didn't feel she deserved it, however well-meant her actions were.

 

I found reading this book something of a chore and struggled to finish it.

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This is my second reading of Emma and I am enjoying it much more than before. I dislike Emma intensely and agree with you Kell. She really does deserve to fall on her face. However I am enjoying reading about her machinations and how she really doesnt get it, that she can't interfere with people's lives the way sge does. I remember that some things don't quite work out the way she imagines.

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But at least she was genuinely sorry when she realised the mistakes she made (even if she didn't always learn from them). I liked Emma, for all her flaws. She was a bit of a fool sometimes, but her heart was in the right place. Unlike that priest guy and the woman he married (the names escape me - it's been a while since I read it).

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You mean the Eltons? Oh, they make me laugh! I think, for me, the fact the Emma goes through a lot of soul searching and really grows up redeems her for me. She's a snob, yes, but I think she's genuinely good-hearted.

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Well I have to say that I really enjoyed this book even more than Pride and Prejudice, which is my favourite. I see Mr Knightly as another Darcy. Emma does redeem herself I agree and I am glad she found happiness in the end. The Eltons are totally despicable people, totally unlikeable.

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I think one of my favorite characteristic that I find in people is what I would call a teachable spirit. That's one of the reason's I like Emma so much. She does deserve to fall on her face, just like all of us do at some point. When she does, she uses the situation to grow into something better. I love that. When we screw up, it is so easy to get defensive because our pride is hurt, but in doing so we can miss the opportunity to became the better version of ourselves. I always image Emma as a better Mrs. Knightly because of the humiliation that she walked and grew through.

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Like Kell, this was the first Jane Austen book I ever read, and remains my least favourite. I didn't hate it though, and neither did I hate the character of Emma, although she was exasperating. I felt she had her heart was in the right place, but her nose was constantly poking where it shouldn't be!

 

I adored Mr Knightly though.

 

The Eltons were horrible people, although I suspect that they were quite realistic characters for the time.

 

I must try and find my original review on this - it's been a few years since I read it.

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*sneaks in*

 

Emma was my first Austen too, and I've read it several times as I then had to study it for AS-Level. Though I certainly don't think it's her best, it's thoroughly in Jane Austen style and people seem to either love or hate Emma's character (I love to dislike her).

 

We spent many a lesson (well, one, after a lecture we went to) on the "Is Harriet Emma's sister?" theory, which made us giggle.

 

Mr Knightley, though dashing, always seemed more of a fatherly figure to Emma for me - which is why I think I didn't really like their relationship. I'd think he would have the sense to pick someone a little less...flighty or snobbish.

 

I did like Kell's question asking whether Mr Knightley has any faults though, as I can honestly say I've never really even thought about it. Maybe his fault is that he's in love with Emma, who (in my opinion) doesn't quite fit him (despite the irony being adorable and everything).

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New to the Forum!

 

I barely started reading Emma so it will take some time until i post my thoughts again but i will post up my thoughts as I move along.

 

Looking forward to a great discussion.

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This for me was an odd reading experience. The expose of social mores and politics was interesting, but the characters were an embarrassment. All of them came across as parodies, with the possible exception of Mr Knightley who seemed at least able to seemed to keep control. Of the rest the least annoying I found was Mrs Weston. This novel is below par for Austen.

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I'll admit that although I still think Emma the worst of Austen's books (and so I'm very sorry that it was my introduction to her works as it put me off for so long) I did actually put aside my dislike and read a few more of her books and I found them to be much better. I still have a couple more to read, but I'll get to them eventually and I'm pretty certain that Emma will remain my least favourite and be destined to be the one that I never read again.

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