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Emma: a Marxist and Feminist Reading

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Isabelle Catabran

on 27 October 2015

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Transcript of Emma: a Marxist and Feminist Reading

Emma from a Marxist Lens
Jane Austen's World
Born to Cassandra and George Austen in 1775 Steventon, Hampshire, England
Died in 1817, never married
"Psuedo-Gentry" social class
Recieved formal education (uncommon)
Women and men lived and separate spheres
was published in 1816
Feminist Lens
Essential Questions:
How does gender function in this piece?
How are women depicted in this piece?
This lens helps us examine how gender influences literature
Main focus:
How women are portrayed
How characters are limited/privileged for being women
How masculinity defines roles and limits men
Jane Austen was a feminist before feminism
Emma from a Feminist Lens
Emma: a Marxist and Feminist Reading
Marxist Lens
Marxist and Feminist Readings of Jane Austen's

Essential Questions:
How does money matter/function in this piece?
How does a power system matter/function in this piece?
Named after Karl Marx (1850s)
This lens helps us examine how socioeconomic factors influence literature
Jane Austen was a "Marxist before Marx"
Marxist Lens
Feminist Lens
Works Cited



, Jane Austen was feminist and Marxist
She voices her opinions despite the restraints of her gender and social class
Jane Austen was a precursor to feminism and Marxism
"Emma went to the door for amusement. [...] or a stray letter-boy on an obstinate mule, were the liveliest objects she could presume to expect; and when her eyes fell only on the butcher with his tray, a tidy old woman travelling homewards from shop with her full basket, two curs quarrelling over a dirty bone, and a string of dawdling children round the baker's little bow-window eyeing the gingerbread, she knew she had no reason to complain, and was amused enough; quite enough still to stand at the door. A mind lively and at ease, can do with seeing nothing, and can see nothing that does not answer." (2.9)

“She would notice [Harriet]; she would improve her; she would detach her from her bad acquaintance, and introduce her into good society; she would form her opinions and her manners” (1.3).

"But you have not seen so much of the world as I have. [...] Your inexperience really amuses me." (2.17)

"[…] I was not thinking of the slave-trade […] the governess-trade, I assure you, was all that I had in view; widely different certainly as to the guilt of those who carry it on; but as to the greater misery of the victims, I do not know where it lies." (2.17)

"Perhaps it was not fair to expect him to feel how very much he was her inferior in talent, and all the elegancies of mind. The very want of such equality might prevent his perception of it; but he must know that in fortune and consequence she was greatly his superior." (1.16)

Miss Bates and Jane Fairfax

"And I am not only not going to be married at present, but have very little intention of ever marrying at all. [...] I have none of the usual inducements of women to marry. [...] And, without love, I am sure I should be a fool to change such a situation as mine. Fortune I do not want; employment I do not want; consequence I do not want: I believe few married women are half as much mistress of their husband's house as I am of Hartfield." (1.10)
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