Emma

Money Isn't Everything: Complexity of Motivations and Messages in Emma 12th Grade

“Austen’s novels are all about money.” To what extent is this a true comment in relation to ‘Emma’?

Behind every action is a drive, a will that serves to uphold the most open and secretive desires of the self. Within Jane Austen’s Emma, money acts as a motivator, spearheading and underpinning all interactions and ensuing relationships. However, to say that the novel is “all about money” would be a blind sighted approach; Austen paints a vibrant and convoluted world, such complexity naturally making all character motivations not solely tied to one thematic desire, but rather multiple. As with the ensuing discussion one will realize the importance of further themes as love or class, and how Austen cleverly intertwines the use of comedy and commentary to compliment character development and the reader’s experience.

Money, for many characters, acts as a central motivator. For women, wealth creates independence and distance from their male counterparts and from laborious or degrading occupations. For men, wealth equals freedom, an ease of living, and societal respect. A key example is that of Mr. Elton, an individual who is driven to marry by prospects of wealth. Whenever he is in narrator or character discussion, synonymous words...

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