A&E Original Movie
Jane Austen's "Emma", Part 1
This two-part A & E drama is an adaptation of Jane Austen's classic tale of a 19th century gentlewoman. Emma is a spirited young woman preoccupied with affairs of the heart and a penchant for matchmaking.
Emma is well suited for classes on European history, literature and womens history. It is suitable for high school.
In Part I Emma's involvement with other peoples affairs has led to some disappointing conclusions. As a result of her actions and thoughtlessness, people close to her have been hurt.
Why is Emma so fascinated with the romantic liaisons of those around her? Do you think Emma is interfering in other peoples lives?
Emma's interference causes Harriet to refuse the marriage proposal of Mr. Martin. What adjectives would use to describe Emma's behavior towards Harriet and others she sought to match?
Emma is clearly a member of England's upper class. How do you think her station in life contributes to her matchmaking efforts?
Does Emma use her class position to impose her will on those whose station in life is beneath hers?
Do you find Emma to be an appealing character? Is so why? If not, why not?
Research the role of European women in the 19th century. Using your findings, describe how Emma is influenced by the gender conventions of the period. Does Emma in any way challenge those conventions?
Compare the class structure of 19th century England to 20th century America. What differences and/or similarities do you find?
Discuss how Emma's position as an upperclass gentlewomen affects her lifestyle. Try to imagine how, or if, Emma would be different if she was the daughter of a tradesman or farmer.