I don’t remember disliking the title character in Emma as much when reading Jane Austen’s original novel. But in Manga Classics: Emma I feel put off by Emma Woodhouse’s deplorable behavior to those less fortunate than she in her quest of matchmaking. Putting a face without a voice to Emma’s eventually discovery of her wickedness do nothing to create sympathy for Emma. if anything, I feel even less.
For those unfamiliar with the story Emma Woodhouse lives with her father and is of the opinion that she will never marry. After taking responsibility for the match between her governess, Miss Taylor and Mr. Weston, she fancy herself a matchmaker for all eligible men and women in the town. By chance she is introduced to the orphan Harriett who has no known family but a very handsome face. Emma believes this is enough for her to make a perfect match for the local vicar Mr. Elton.
From here Emma beings to make light of friends and puts Harriett in the way of her good intentions causing heartbreak, hurt feelings, and prejudices amongst the people around her. But don’t think it ends poorly for her or her friends. In the end, all becomes well with no less than four marriages. Ultimately, she too falls in love. It wouldn’t be a regency novel if our heroine didn’t get married, too!
As frustrated as I was with Emma, ultimately that’s the point of Austen’s novel in it’s manga form. She becomes that much more alive. There’s humility in Emma through her honestly and acceptance of her actions. She doesn’t stray from her choices even if they cause her nothing but trouble. I dislike Emma because I’m supposed to – she’s a silly girl who makes silly choices but in the end you smile in happiness when she finds love in the end.