A Misunderstood Heroine – Book Review: Emma by Jane Austen

Format:  Paperback

Published:  1816

Pages: 432 pages

Genre:  Fiction & Literature, Classics, Romance




I am going to take a heroine whom no one but myself will much like”

–Jane Austen

That quote cannot be any truer, especially when talking about a character like Emma Woodhouse. Emma is definitely unlike Austen other heroines. And it is no surprise that a lot of people are not to fond of the novel due to Emma’s personality. But in spite of Emma’s many, many flaws, Emma is still one of my favorite novels. 

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.”

If Emma Woodhouse lived in the 21st century, she would be that one girl in your high school class that everyone hated. And I don’t blame you, I mean, take a look at Emma: a naive, claimed know-it-all, closed-off young woman who really has little or no knowledge of the outside world. She manipulates

Emma Woodhouse (Romola Garai) BBC 2009
Emma Woodhouse (Romola Garai) BBC 2009

and constantly interferes in other people’s lives not for their benefits but only to make herself feel good. Her superior attitude doesn’t help matters, especially when preventing marriages taking place and causes her to be rude towards others. With these traits, you’ll have a hard time believing anyone enjoying this Austen classic.

But I do. You see, Emma is not like Austen’s other heroines. For some of her heroines, you can’t tell what their flaws unless they point it out themselves. I wasn’t quick to judge Elizabeth for her reasons of being  prejudiced towards Mr. Darcy until his relationship with Mr. Wickham is revealed. With Emma, Austen shows all of her flaws outright. Instead of you, the reader, finding out everything along with the heroine, here you are just waiting for Emma to finally catch on and grow up. And I think that’s why Emma has a more personal connection, especially with young woman. Because we all were like Emma, one way or another, thinking that the world is our oyster and we know everything about it. But like Emma, we have to make mistakes along the way just to find our place and learn more about ourselves.

So Emma may not be witty as Elizabeth Bennet or shy and timid as unappreciated Fanny Price, but she does care and have compassion for others. Even through her misguided actions, there is a heart there and ironically her schemes are her way of showing it.

I will definitely be rereading this again and for those who dislike Emma because of the main character, I suggest to reread it again because, like me, you might find whole different side to Emma.

Overall rating: 5 out of 5 stars.


Published by karma2015

I was born and raised in New York. I still live in New York but kind of sick of the city and one day I wish to move to the UK.I have a Masters degree in Library Science and I currently work in a special collections library. I loved books ever since I was a little girl. Through the hard times in my life, my love for books has always gotten me through. Just entering another world different from my own intrigues me. As long as I am entering in another universe, I like to create my own as well. I love to write and hopefully I will be able to complete a novel.

9 thoughts on “A Misunderstood Heroine – Book Review: Emma by Jane Austen

  1. I’ve never met an Austen book I didn’t like. And, while Lizzie B. is still my favorite, my second fave is Anne in Persuasion (the oldest, most mature of Austen’s heroines) and Emma, my third. She’s got spunk. True, she’s a bit of a brat, but she’s sensitive enough to change

    Liked by 1 person

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