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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.