Emma and the Problem of Advice
Guest Post by Rebecca H. Jamison
In Jane Austen’s Emma, Harriet Smith would’ve been much better off if she’d listened to her heart. Instead, she listened to Emma and had to suffer the rejection of two different men before marrying Robert Martin, the man who asked her in the first place. Emma is certainly the worst advice-giver in the book, but she isn’t the only one. Mr. Woodhouse, Mrs. Weston, and Mr. Knightley all offer up plenty of opinions during the progress of the novel.
Mr. Woodhouse turns people off with his constant stream of health advice. He cautions against eating wedding cake and any other sort of tasty food. For the most part, the characters ignore the old man. But, on one occasion, his son-in-law loses patience when Mr. Woodhouse tells the young father not to listen to his own doctor. Mr. Woodhouse may think he’s helping people, but his words sometimes alienate him from those around him.
Mrs. Weston is more subtle in giving advice. From the beginning of the book, she encourages Emma to pursue Frank Churchill by reading his letters and pairing the two together at parties. Mrs. Weston’s plans backfire almost as badly as Emma’s plans for Harriet.
Mr. Knightley, unlike the others, seems qualified to give advice. It makes sense that Robert Martin should ask him about marrying Harriet Smith. What gets Mr. Knightley into trouble is the unsolicited advice he gives to Emma about her meddling. Though Mr. Knightley is correct in his opinions, most of his counsel only makes Emma angry. His words also turn out to be unnecessary. The events of the story teach Emma everything Mr. Knightley wanted her to learn.
Rebecca H. Jamison
The book: Emma A Latter-day Tale
NOT Looking for Love: Single woman (23) seeks best friend to chat on the phone, shop the clearance racks, watch chick flicks, try out messy cooking projects, and eat Dove dark chocolates.
Emma isn’t so good at the whole life-coaching thing. Her first client ended up with a broken heart and is threatening to relapse in her bad habits. Now Emma has problems of her own to deal with, and all those problems start with one name: Justin.
Justin is her best friend, so it’s hard for Emma not to feel betrayed when she suspects he is falling for her childhood rival. And she knows she’s losing him despite her best efforts. No matter how much she tries, she keeps running up against obstacles. How is she supposed to help other people when she’s drowning in her own failures?
Fans of Jane Austen’s Emma will love this modern retelling of the classic romance novel. Fall in love with Emma’s latter-day tale of redemption, forgiveness, and the quest for true love.
Looking for love? Rebecca H. Jamison would love to set you up with that special someone, but you’re better off reading her books. She has a terrible track record as a matchmaker.
Rebecca grew up in Virginia. She attended Brigham Young University, where she earned a BA and MA in English with an emphasis in creative writing. In between college and graduate school, she served a mission to Portugal and Cape Verde.
Rebecca enjoys running, dancing, reading, and watching detective shows. She and her husband have six children. You can learn more about her at www.rebeccahjamison.com
It was amazing how much more snow Phil could pick up with his shovel than I could with mine. He cleared three feet of the driveway before I was done with one.
“When we’re done, if you have time, you should come in and meet Harri. I think you two will get along.”
Phil stopped and looked at his watch. “I’m planning to do a couple more driveways before it gets dark.”
“I’ll go get Harri now if you’re in a hurry. She wants to meet you.”
Phil leaned on his shovel. “Harry is a she?”
“Her real name is Harriet. She moved here a couple months ago and she’s hardly met anybody. I think you’ll like her.”
Phil threw his head back, laughed, and started shoveling again. “I thought you were trying to introduce me to your new boyfriend.”
“You think I would be out here shoveling snow while my new boyfriend stays inside?” I grabbed a handful of snow and threw it at him. I didn’t mean to hit him in the face, but that’s where it landed.
Phil wiped the snow off his face and grinned. “I wondered why you were dating such a loser.” I expected him to throw a snowball at me, but he just stood there. “So you don’t have a boyfriend?”
I giggled a little at his awkwardness. “Nope. Harri doesn’t either.”
Phil threw another shovelful of snow away from the driveway. “So you . . . I mean, you and your friend are . . . available?” Phil didn’t open his mouth enough when he talked. That was the one thing about him that always distracted me. I couldn’t help staring at his mouth.
I had to force myself to look into his eyes. “Why is that a shock, Phil? Every woman in that house right now is available. You can take your pick—Harri, me, or Barbara. You’re surrounded by single women.” It was safe to assume Phil wouldn’t pick me. I was at least three inches taller than he was, and it was a rare man who dated a taller woman.
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