Matchmaker, Matchmaker

When Jane Austen wrote Emma, she remarked that she had created “a character whom no one but me will much like.”  Unlike heroines such as Elizabeth Bennet, Elinor Dashwood, and Anne Elliot, Emma Woodhouse is not an immediately likable character; she is self-absorbed, manipulative, and convinced that she is able to run the lives of her friends better than they can themselves.  What this does, of course, is give the author an opportunity to show real, substantial change in her protagonist, and the Emma Woodhouse at the end of the novel, having learned the value of repentance, forgiveness, and humility, is very different from the prideful young woman at the beginning.  Critics over the years have disagreed with the author in her assessment of her own creation, and you can now judge for yourself with this latest addition to the literature study guides.