Emma

by: Jane Austen

Jane Fairfax

Jane’s beauty and accomplishment immediately make her stand out, but we are likely to follow Emma’s lead at first and judge Jane uninteresting on account of her reserve. As Jane gradually betrays more personality and emotion, she indicates that she harbors some secret sorrow. Eventually, she and Emma push the cloudy confusion behind and become friends. The contrast between Jane’s delicate sense of propriety and morality and the passionate nature of her feelings is much more dramatic than any of the conflicts that Emma experiences. Jane’s situation too is much more dire than Emma’s: if Jane does not wed, she must become a governess, because she lacks any money of her own. The revelation of Jane’s secret engagement to Frank makes Jane seem more human, just as Knightley’s humanity is brought out by his love for Emma.