Monday, December 28, 2020

The need for self-censorship in Jane Austen's "Emma"

When Emma Woodhouse in Jane Austen's "Emma" reflects on the departure of her governess Miss Taylor when she marries and becomes Mrs. Weston, she reflects on her virtues, many of which turn out to be about Emma herself: Miss Taylor was "one to whom she could speak every thought as it arose, and who had such an affection for her as could never find fault." The opportunity to speak without self-censorship combines here with the certainty that she will not be punished for whatever she says, even if it is actually blameworthy. Without such a companion, then, Emma must censor herself with others or risk having them find fault with her. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 28 December)

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