Sunday, May 29, 2011

Mr. Knightley (Part II)

Mr Knightley’s Love for Emma
The Knightleys and Woodhouses were old family friends. When Emma was 14, her older sister Isabella married Mr Knightley’s younger brother John. Therefore Emma and Mr Knightley were practically brother and sister-in-law, or at least considered so by other people. Even before that, Emma was of “special regard” to him. He was always watching out for her like an older brother, and since no one else would do it, scolded her when she acted wrongly.
Here’s a conversation they had near the end of the book about it:
     “I am losing all my bitterness against spoilt children, my dearest Emma. I, who am owing all my happiness to you, would not it be horrible ingratitude in me to be severe on them?”
    Emma laughed, and replied: “But I had the assistance of all your endeavours to counteract the indulgence of other people. I doubt whether my own sense would have corrected me without it.”
    “Do you?—I have no doubt. Nature gave you understanding:—Miss Taylor gave you principles. You must have done well. My interference was quite as likely to do harm as good. It was very natural for you to say, what right has he to lecture me?—and I am afraid very natural for you to feel that it was done in a disagreeable manner. I do not believe I did you any good. The good was all to myself, by making you an object of the tenderest affection to me. I could not think about you so much without doating on you, faults and all; and by dint of fancying so many errors, have been in love with you ever since you were thirteen at least.”
    “I am sure you were of used to me,” cried Emma. “I was very often influenced rightly by you—oftener than I would own at the time. I am very sure you did me good.”
His love was unselfish. He always cared about Emma’s well-being; he wanted to see her doing the right thing. His ‘scolding’ at Box Hill is a good example of this:
“Emma, I must once more speak to you as I have been used to do: a privilege rather endured than allowed, perhaps, but I must still use it. I cannot see you acting wrong, without a remonstrance. How could you be so unfeeling to Miss Bates? How could you be so insolent in your wit to a woman of her character, age, and situation?—Emma, I had not thought it possible. … Her situation should secure your compassion! It was badly done indeed! ...This is not pleasant to you, Emma—and it is far from pleasant to me; but I must, I will,--I will tell you truths while I can, satisfied with proving myself your friend by very faithful counsel, and trusting that you will some time or other do me greater justice than you can do now.
An Emma-Knightley conversation I like, when they are at the ball:
                “Whom are you going to dance with?” asked Mr Knightley.
                    [Emma] hesitated for a moment, and then replied “With you, if you will ask me.”
                    “Will you?” said he, offering his hand.
    “Indeed I will. You have shown that you can dance, and you know we are not really so much brother and sister as to make it at all improper.”
    “Brother and sister! no, indeed.”
The ball, by the way, is my favorite part of the 2009 mini-series. Furthermore, my favorite scene is the dance just after the quote right there (although it was not fully included in the movie). It’s such a lovely dance, and very sweet between Emma and Mr Knightley, which, sadly, is not currently on YouTube.



The book tells about Mr Knightley’s love for Emma better than I ever could. I’m inclined to copy down most of chapter 49, but I shall just put these parts that tell so much about Mr Knightley’s feelings; it is after the proposal.
      He had, in fact, been wholly unsuspicious of his own influence. He had followed her into the shrubbery with no idea of trying it. He had come, in his anxiety to see how she bore Frank Churchill's engagement, with no selfish view, no view at all, but of endeavouring, if she allowed him an opening, to soothe or to counsel her.--The rest had been the work of the moment, the immediate effect of what he heard, on his feelings. The delightful assurance of her total indifference towards Frank Churchill, of her having a heart completely disengaged from him, had given birth to the hope, that, in time, he might gain her affection himself;--but it had been no present hope--he had only, in the momentary conquest of eagerness over judgment, aspired to be told that she did not forbid his attempt to attach her.--The superior hopes which gradually opened were so much the more enchanting.-- The affection, which he had been asking to be allowed to create, if he could, was already his!--Within half an hour, he had passed from a thoroughly distressed state of mind, to something so like perfect happiness, that it could bear no other name.
       Her change was equal.--This one half-hour had given to each the same precious certainty of being beloved, had cleared from each the same degree of ignorance, jealousy, or distrust.--On his side, there had been a long-standing jealousy, old as the arrival, or even the expectation, of Frank Churchill.--He had been in love with Emma, and jealous of Frank Churchill, from about the same period, one sentiment having probably enlightened him as to the other. It was his jealousy of Frank Churchill that had taken him from the country.--The Box Hill party had decided him on going away. He would save himself from witnessing again such permitted, encouraged attentions.--He had gone to learn to be indifferent.-- But he had gone to a wrong place. There was too much domestic happiness in his brother's house; woman wore too amiable a form in it; Isabella was too much like Emma--differing only in those striking inferiorities, which always brought the other in brilliancy before him, for much to have been done, even had his time been longer.--He had stayed on, however, vigorously, day after day--till this very morning's post had conveyed the history of Jane Fairfax.--Then, with the gladness which must be felt, nay, which he did not scruple to feel, having never believed Frank Churchill to be at all deserving Emma, was there so much fond solicitude, so much keen anxiety for her, that he could stay no longer. He had ridden home through the rain; and had walked up directly after dinner, to see how this sweetest and best of all creatures, faultless in spite of all her faults, bore the discovery.
       He had found her agitated and low.--Frank Churchill was a villain.-- He heard her declare that she had never loved him. Frank Churchill's character was not desperate.--She was his own Emma, by hand and word, when they returned into the house; and if he could have thought of Frank Churchill then, he might have deemed him a very good sort of fellow.

After she is ‘his own Emma’, he does something further to demonstrate his love; he offers to move to Emma’s house, because she would not leave her father. He’s willing to go from living alone, to living with an old man who worries about everything, so he could marry his dearest Emma.

What do you think of Mr Knightley? What do you think of Emma and Mr Knightley’s romance? I think it’s quite splendid myself. =)

In case you missed: Mr Knightley (Part I)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Mr. Knightley (Part I)

     Mr Knightley is the favorite hero of many. I read that out of all the heroes Jane Austen wrote about, Mr Knightley was her favorite; that has to mean something. I even know of some guys who are impressed by him. What is it about Mr Knightley? Why has he captured so many girls’ hearts (or at least imaginations)? Is it his caring nature, his steadfast love? Maybe it’s his realness. Fairytale heroes are all fine and well, but I like the ones who seem like real people.     
     So, dear readers, if you care to, come join me as I explore the character of George Knightley.


The Filmmaker’s Mr Knightley
Jonny Lee Miller – BBC 2009
            This is my favorite representation of Mr Knightley, and I know I am joined in this opinion by many Emma fans. He was just the right age for the part, and he seemed to really understand how Mr Knightley is supposed to be. This Mr Knightley is caring, practical, has a sense of humor, and is always keeping an eye out for Emma. He’s also very convincing in the romantic parts – really makes me feel it like none of the other movies did. I suppose he’s not exactly handsome, but I think he’s attractive, in the right way for Mr Knightley. Oh yes, and did I mention he does a really good job arguing with Emma?  ;-)


Jeremy Northam – Mirimax 1996          
          This one has my second favorite, and some people’s favorite Mr Knightley. (He was my favorite, before the 2009 version came out.) He’s probably more dashing, but also a couple years too young. He did a tolerably good job…although sometimes I think he is a little too gentle with Emma. He doesn’t get quite angry enough – while I would like this better in a person, I don’t think it’s exactly what I’d picture when reading the book. I did like the way he scolded Emma about her criticizing Miss Bates (although it still wasn’t quite like the book).


Mark Strong – A&E 1996
      This Mr Knightley – was not Mr Knightley. He was too harsh, too scowlish. When he yells it is rather frightening! He rarely had a pleasant look on his face. He was not very attractive. He is the reason some people don’t like this movie. I liked most the other characters off this one; but when one doesn’t like the hero, it is a sad thing indeed.



Since the 1972 version doesn’t really count in my mind, I won’t talk about that Knightley at all.


~~~~~
Mr Knightley is known by all to be kind, caring, and gentleman-like. He always thinks of other people first. He doesn’t like to see people being treated badly. Consider Harriet, for example. The scene in the 2009 mini-series was done very well. Mr Elton was very rude to refuse to dance with Harriet—I have to say it was worse than Mr Darcy not taking Bingley’s suggestion to dance with Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice. Harriet was the only young lady not dancing, and Mr Elton the only dancing man disengaged. They had been acquainted for some time. Mrs Weston points her out, Harriet actually close enough to overhear. A minute before, he had pretty much said he wanted to dance, and so obviously he was only wishing to avoid dancing with Harriet. His thinking she was so much beneath him was one of the reasons. That’s why Mr Knightley asking Harriet to dance meant so much; Mr Knightley has a much higher station than Mr Elton. Also, nobody expected Mr Knightley to dance. But he observed the situation and saw clearly that it needed his attention.
Here a photo reel thing I made from the stirring scene:
"The very recollection of it, and all that I felt at the time--when I saw him coming--his noble look--and my wretchedness before. Such a change! In one moment such a change! From perfect misery to perfect happiness." ~Harriet
I liked how they had Mr Knightley look over at Emma while he was observing this; I think it is very likely that Mr Knightley did it partly for Emma’s sake, her being so concerned for her friend.


Mr Knightley through Emma’s eyes
It was amusing to me to read Emma’s expressed opinions about Mr Knightley before she realized she was in love with him. Beneath the arguments and disagreements, she always had a respect and admiration for him. Like what she said to Harriet near the beginning of the book:
“Mr Knightley’s air is so remarkably good, that it is not fair to compare Mr Martin with him. You might not see one in a hundred, with gentleman so plainly written as in Mr Knightley.”
When Mrs Weston mentioned Mr Knightley’s bringing his carriage for the purpose of conveying Jane Fairfax, in consideration of her health, Emma said:
“I know no man more likely than Mr Knightley to do the sort of thing—to do anything really good-natured, useful, considerate, or benevolent.”
And then, of course when Mrs Weston mentions her suspicions of Mr Knightley being attached to Jane, Emma does not like this at all. However, she gives herself an excuse for not liking it:
“Mr Knightley and Jane Fairfax! Dear Mrs Weston, how could you think of such a thing?—Mr Knightley!—Mr Knightley must not marry!—You would not have little Henry cut out from Donwell? –Oh! No, no, Henry must have Donwell.”
Emma looking concerned at the thought of Mr Knightley
in love with Jane Fairfax

In the 2009 mini-series, I loved the scene after Emma meets Mrs Elton:
“ ‘Knightley’, indeed. Never seen him in her life, and she calls him ‘Knightley’! Insufferable woman! Horrible, upstart, vulgar being with her ‘Mr E.’ and her ‘caro sposo’ and her carriages and air of pert pretentions and underbred finery. Actually to discover that Mr Knightley is a gentleman, and that the woman who brought me up should be ladylike! I’ve never met her equal! ‘Knightley’, indeed! I’ve known him all my life, and even I don’t call him that!”
In the book, this paragraph during the ball amused me very much:
“She was more disturbed by Mr Knightley’s not dancing, than by any thing else.—There he was, among the standers-by, where he ought not to be; he ought to be dancing,--not classing himself with the husbands, and fathers, and whist-players, who were pretending to feel and interest in the dance till their rubbers were made up,--so young as he looked! He could not have appeared to greater advantage perhaps any where, than where he had placed himself. His tall, firm, upright figure, among the bulky forms and stooping shoulders of the elderly men, was such as Emma felt must draw every body’s eyes; … He moved a few steps nearer, and those few steps were enough to prove in how gentlemanlike a manner, with what natural grace, he must have danced, would he but take the trouble.”
"What are you doing over here with the old men and the card players?"
Emma felt very badly after being admonished by him about what she said to Miss Bates. When she returned from her repentant vistit to Miss Bates, Mr Knightley was at her house.I love that silent communication between them, and how he almost kissed her hand. J
    [Mr Woodhouse speaking] “Dear Emma has been to call on Mrs and Miss Bates, Mr Knightley, as I told you before. She is always so attentive to them!”
    Emma’s colour was heightened by this unjust praise; and with a smile, and a shake of the head, which spoke much, she looked at Mr Knightley.—It seemed as if there were an instantaneous impression in her favour, as if his eyes had received the truth from her’s, and all that had passed of good in her feelings were at once caught and honoured.—He looked at her with a glow of regard. She was warmly gratified—and in another moment still more so, by a little movement of more than common friendliness on his part.—He…took her hand, pressed it, and certainly was on the point of carrying it to his lips—when, from some fancy or other, he suddenly let it go.

I sometimes wonder…if Emma had been as convinced that Mr Knightley loved Jane Fairfax as she later was of his regard for Harriet, would she have realized her own fondness for him? I’m inclined to think that was part of it, but that her affection for him grew as time passed, and so when it came to Harriet, the thought of his marrying was even more dreadful to her.
 ~~~~~
This post has become too long, therefore I am going to continue it next week.

By the way, I do like Mr Darcy, and I think he is still my favorite. I’ll have to do a post all about him after another complete reading of Pride and Prejudice.

(Part 2)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Emma Quiz

My second quiz is now completed!  If you wish to take it, comment on this post with the answers you choose. (Remember to check back or check the 'email follow-up comment' box, because I will comment again with your result!!) (Example: 1.a; 2.c; 3.b; etc.) Tip: You can open the comment box and be typing the answers as you go along.    Have fun!

Which Lady From Emma Are You Most Like?
1.      How do you handle people who annoy you?
a.      I try to be sympathetic with them and think of more than just my own feelings.
b.      I try not to let it show when I am around them, but I complain about them to people who are close to me. I also avoid them as much as possible.
c.       People do not often annoy me, but I am not always the best judge of character.
d.      I mostly put up with them, but those who won’t leave me alone do cause me to feel overwhelmed.
e.      I more often find myself trying to get other people not to be annoyed with each other.
f.        I am usually patronizing towards them, although I do not mind talking bad about them to others.
2.      What sort of influence do you have on others?
a.      I do not try to influence people; I am more often seeking it myself.
b.      I influence very directly – I often do not take ‘no’ for an answer.
c.       I can strategically influence people of meager understanding, and others gently by providing factual information; I usually have no influence at all on strong-willed people.
d.      If those close to me ask for my advice or opinion, I give it.
e.      I advise softly, having some influence on those who care about my opinion.
f.        I generally keep my thoughts to myself.
3.      Your ideal gentleman…
a.      I am not picky. As long as he can provide a good home and thinks I’m wonderful, I am quite ready to fall in love and marry.
b.      Someone kind and gentle.
c.       I do not expect to marry, or even fall in love; he would have to be someone very special.
d.      A good, respectable man who will adore me.
e.      Will be handsome in looks, eloquent in speech, and will sweep me off my feet.
f.        A worthy man. I will make him happy and love him with all my heart.
4.      Suppose you are learning something new.
a.      I persevere until I can do it very well.
b.      Actually, I am more used to teaching than learning.
c.       A project can engross me for a while, but I have been known not to finish to my best ability – although I usually get pretty good.
d.      If it is something I am convinced is worthwhile, I will learn everything I can.
e.      If I have sufficient encouragement, companionship, and assistance I will have a nice time and I might do well.
f.        In most circumstances, I believe it does not take me long to exceed others in ability and knowledge.
5.      What are your thoughts on change?
a.      I am not used to it, but if it is an improvement, I welcome it.
b.      Change is not generally a good thing, and even if it is, it may take a while to get used to, or I may need to be talked into accepting it.
c.       As long as it is in my favor, it’s just fine.
d.      Sometimes a different situation is refreshing, but I am usually happy as I am.
e.      If it benefits everybody involved, change has my approval.
f.        I can be happy in many different situations; however, I do not respond when a change I expect does not take place.
6.      What qualities do you most admire?
a.      Devotion and affection
b.      Honesty and integrity/wit
c.       Sincerity and constancy
d.      Timidity and skill
e.      Good humor and kindness
f.        Sympathy and openness
7.      Sometimes you tend to…
a.      Be reserved
b.      Think you know everything
c.       Be snobby
d.      Avoid seeing the faults in people
e.      Be overly concerned
f.        Let others do your thinking for you
8.      Acquaintances might say you are…
a.      Sweet and good-tempered
b.      Caring and kind
c.       Talented and pretty
d.      Bold; perhaps pert
e.      Attractive and witty
f.        Pleasant and agreeable

Results:


*All rights reserved. Please do not copy the quiz in any way without my consent.*

If you are interested, I also wrote a Pride and Prejudice quiz.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Emma: The Movies

2009 (BBC)
Before this one came out, there were some people who liked the 1996 Miramax version, and those who preferred the A&E one, but with this mini-series, most of them were united and this became their favorite. It is greatly admired all around, and very popular considering it has only been around for less than a year and a half. It’s special to me for being the first Jane Austen movie to come out since I knew about her, and I had the pleasure of seeing it when it aired for the first time. 
   It’s full of wonderful acting, good costumes, a nice soundtrack (which I have), and really seems to capture the spirit of the book. Emma’s character development could hardly have been done better, in my opinion. It’s long enough to let the story develop and not rush through it. There are only a handful of things I can criticize, but three are: it could be a little more old-fashioned; in fact, the people who made it said they were trying to make it likable to ‘modern audiences’, but it is still authentic. Another thing, I could not be satisfied with the Jane Fairfax. She was too…mouse-like, and not like the “elegant” creature described in the book (but at least she had the right hair color.) The way she talked is what mostly did it, I think. The other thing is, one of my favorite quotes from Emma is excluded – where Mr Knightley says “Brother and sister? No, indeed.” before he dances with Emma. But, the dance itself is gorgeous. The music is lovely, the dance is so elegant and beautifully done, and the acting is captivating. I feel happy every time I watch it. The whole ball, in fact, is my favorite part of the movie. They did an impressive job with the Elton-slighting-Harriet-and-Knightley-to-the-rescue scene. (Perfect misery to perfect happiness, in Harriet’s words.)
   I’d say this version is the easiest to understand while following the book closely – it has time to explain more, for one thing, as I mentioned. And describing the backgrounds of Emma, Frank, and Jane F. at the beginning was very helpful too. Really, I could do a whole long post about this version…and this is much too long already, so I’ll stop now. ;)
Emma: Romola Garai
Mr Knightley: Jonny Lee Miller
Length: 4 hours (four 1-hour episodes)
My grade: A+


1996 (A&E)
This version could be argued as the closest to the book, but it is too short to really be compared. However, I’d say this version has the most direct quotes from the book. I rather like the Emma in this one. (All the Emmas are different in their portrayals, and with this one I think the character development could be better.) I like her looks – she looks young, and a brown haired Emma is by no means disagreeable to me. (I often refer to this movie as “the brown hair Emma”.) The Mr Knightley, however, I am not satisfied with. He’s the only one who is tall like the book says, but other than that, he did not strike me as very Knightley-ish, in looks or acting. My favorite Jane Fairfax is in this version.
It’s very authentic-looking, and I love movies like this one where you get an ‘old-fashioned feel’, as opposed to a modern one. I liked the dances in this version, by the way. I've even done one of them, and danced to some of the songs. (English Country Dancing is so fun!)
Emma: Kate Beckinsale
Mr Knightley: Mark Strong
Length: 1 hr. 47 min.
My grade: A

1996 (Miramax)
This is probably the version least like the book, but it stays faithful enough to the story for me to tolerate it. Indeed, it is enjoyable, but it is more modern than the rest. The script, the lighting, even the clothes (especially the clothes pictured on the DVD case) are that way. They also added in and changed things, but nothing to make me angry. Here's a side note: if you read Jane Austen’s books, you may notice that she rarely describes people’s looks – and if she does, it’s done very slyly. In Emma, though, she gives quite a good description of Harriet Smith, and this movie did not attend to it.   Anyways, I liked Mr Knightley on this one (but he is not my favorite since the new one came out), and I thought the Miss Bates did well. Emma was all right, but.....hmm.
Emma: Gwyneth Paltrow
Mr Knightley: Jeremy Northam
Length: 2 hrs. (121 min, to be exact)
My grade: B+


1972 (BBC)
I very recently finished this version in preparation for this post. It's very slow-moving and seems like a play – perhaps even more than other old BBC mini-series. I did not care for the person who played Emma…I didn’t think she looked young enough, even though she was…and she’s not someone I would describe as pretty (and Emma is supposed to be). I didn’t like her acting either, and in this version Emma seemed like even more of a snob. As far as accuracy goes, I think that if one made a list of what was added and not included, it wouldn’t be much shorter than the others (especially the BBC and A&E versions). They did pay heed to how Harriet was described in the book, though. And I like her pink dress.
Emma: Doran Godwin
Mr Knightley: John Carson
Length: 4 hours
My grade: C

My favorite is the BBC version from 2009, and it’s not a hard decision for me. There are few who don’t consider that one their favorite. I’ve seen it 9 times (shocking!), and finally bought it very recently with some birthday/Christmas money.
I love trailers, and this one is so fun to watch…it makes me feel happy, "nonsensical girl" that I am. ;-)


However, before January of 2010 when I first saw the new version, the 1996 A&E one was my favorite. In honor of that, here’s a promo for it. (And if one cannot bear to watch a 4-hour mini-series, this is the one I’d recommend.)

So, which one is your favorite? (Please vote only if you have seen 2 or more versions to compare)
Which is your favorite version of Emma?
1972 (BBC)
1996 (Miramax)
1996 (A and E)
2009 (BBC)














  
pollcode.com free polls

If you’ve seen the 2009 version, here is a really fun post at Old-Fashioned Charm. I laughed so much when I read it!

Also, some lovely Emma banners can be found here from Elegance of Fashion:

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Emma: The Book

       The Story

“Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition, seemed to unite some of the best blessings of existence; and had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her.” (Opening sentence)

She lives quietly alone with her father. Her older sister lives in London with a family of her own. Emma does not wish to find her true love – she intends never to marry, and expects never to be in love – but she delights in finding other people’s potential spouses for them. Her governess that has been with her for seventeen years, Miss Taylor, marries an amiable widower, and Emma claims to have made the match herself. Now she looks to match her new friend Harriet Smith – a girl of seventeen whose parents are unknown, and Mr. Knightley, a family friend Emma has known all her life, advises her against it. He always tries to keep her in line by advising and scolding her, as no one else will. She soon finds that assuming things and meddling in other people’s romances brings pain and embarrassment to everyone involved (including herself), but she still had more lessons to learn.

Her former governess’ husband Mr. Weston expects his son Frank to visit, and Mr. and Mrs. Weston entertain hopes of Emma and Frank forming an attachment. Emma cannot understand why Mr. Knightley –who, with all her faults, has always been particularly fond of Emma since she was young – should be critical and suspicious of Frank, even before his arrival.

After many mix-ups, misunderstandings and mistakes, Emma learns about her own heart, but not until she feels herself in danger of losing her dearest hope, which she was previously unaware of.

My Sentiments

Jane Austen said she was going to create a heroine ‘whom no one but herself would much like’ (and an author, I might add, should always like her heroines), but she was quite wrong. Emma can be annoying and has a tendency to see everything as the way she wants it to be, but nevertheless she is a likeable character, especially by the end. I’m not sure if that is because she improves – she does become wiser and less selfish, to be sure – but maybe one gets to understand her better as the story goes on, and grow to like her for who she is, as her friends do. In any case, the character development is brilliant. One does not grow as fond of perfect heroes and heroines, anyhow, I think.

Speaking of heroes, Mr. Knightley is one who most people (including myself) are very fond of. I read that out of all Jane Austen’s heroes, Mr. Knightley was her favorite. Hmm…I might just have to do a post all about Mr. Knightley…what do you think?

Emma is probably my second favorite Jane Austen story. Sense and Sensibility is very close, but there is a certain lighter feeling I got when reading Emma, rather like Pride and Prejudice, my top favorite.

All of Jane Austen’s stories are different, and I notice that they are all written differently as well. For instance, to me, Pride and Prejudice excels partially for its clever and amusing conversation. In Emma, as I read along, something jumps out at me and makes me unexpectedly burst out laughing. I’ll include some of the spots when I do my quotes post.

In short, I enjoyed the book as much as I expected to from watching the movies. A very clever story, indeed. And the end of books always explain so much more than the movies do! It’s lovely to have questions answered so explicitly.

Published in late 1815, Emma was the last of Jane Austen’s novels that she saw in print.

P.S. I love chapter 49.
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