I choose to comment your Blog, because I was going to pick the same question for my essay this week, before I changed my idea and wrote about something else. In any event, while I was reading it, I found myself agreeing with you in everything you wrote, by criticizing Jane Austen’s character Emma’s statement. I think you did a really good job in going beyond the surface of the novel, the superficial ‘unrealistic characters’, the effect of human vanity and the damaging effect of one’s imagination, as you mentioned.
Even if Emma’s existence has been too privileged, resulting in her being arrogant and controlling, I really appreciated throughout her story, as you probably did, her awareness and her discovery that she was unable to allow fate to take its course. She was also able to acknowledge her feelings and to humbly recognize her error. She not only sees that Knightley was right, but she also recognizes the faulty attitudes and values which produced her mistake and is determines to change.
What impressed me most about Emma’s character in this novel was her attitude toward herself in realizing the existence of and then admitting to her own mistakes. At the beginning, I personally didn’t expect this from the spoilt and arrogant character that she is!
The process of her ego reduction appears very slow. The movement is from pride to humility, from self-aggrandizement to self-castigation and from self-delusion to self-knowledge.
The reason why I would recommend reading this book to anyone (as you did) is because there are a lot of people who could learn from her and “put pride aside” for what really matters in life.
I am happy to know we are on the same page, great job!