The Conflicting Gender Values of Jane Austen’s Emma
On the surface, Jane Austen’s Emma reads as a simple account of its protagonist Emma Woodhouse’s emotional development. Through the course of the novel, Emma comes to realize the folly of her arrogance and cluelessness. Emma’s realization of her shortcomings allows her to correct her reprehensible thoughts and opinions and attain humility as a result. Whereas Emma displays an assortment of protofeminist beliefs at the onset of the novel, her pseudo-maturation causes her to forego these beliefs in order to acclimate to the society she resides in. Despite being the most affluent and respectable woman in Highbury, Emma experiences both empowerment and oppression during her maturation. Her unique position sheds light upon the novel’s conflicting opinion towards gender, specifically on matters such as empowerment, sovereignty, and individuality.
Although Emma is the de facto head of Hartfield on behalf of her hypochondriac father, she exercises significantly less power in the greater world of Highbury. In an attempt to influence the world within her reach, Emma continuously engages in matchmaking throughout the novel. Her hobby is promptly contested by none other than Mr. Knightley himself, who calls her match between Miss Taylor and Mr. Weston a “lucky guess” of “idle” thoughts and hopes (Austen 14). Emma responds:
“… a lucky guess is never merely luck. There is always some talent in it. And as to my poor word ‘success,’ which you quarrel with, I do not know that I am so entirely without any claim to it. You have drawn two pretty pictures–but I think there may be a third–a something between the do-nothing and the do-all” (Austen 14).
Although Emma concedes the possibility that the marriage may not have been entirely due to her actions, she adamantly argues that her efforts cumulated in a tangible contribution nevertheless. By devising and promoting matches that may sometimes be singularly visible to herself only, Emma attempts to break free from tradition, which confines women within their domestic spheres. Thus, Emma’s matchmaking is a progressive attempt of female self-empowerment.
This tale of self-empowerment may cast Emma in a protofeminist light, but a closer examination of matchmaking and its effect on the greater group of women shows that it has a retrograde silver lining. Emma’s matches are made without the will of the men or women involved taken into account. Furthermore, her matches are specifically intended to benefit herself. To keep her friend Harriet Smith “within the sphere in which she moves” (Austen 60), Emma encourages her to reject Mr. Martin’s marriage proposal. Emma’s obvious support of the preestablished social hierarchy is observable here when she explains that she “could not have visited Mr. Robert Martin, of Abbey-Mill Farm” (Austen 52) due to her social class. Emma’s inability to consider the prospects of associating with a family considered to be as socially inferior as the Martins trumps even the close friendship that she shares with Harriet. Thus, she deprives Harriet of the ability to choose her husband and delays her settlement into a marriage considered “safe, respectable, and happy” for her (Austen 63). Whereas matchmaking is a means of empowerment for Emma, it is also a means of disenfranchisement on the women it targets.
Emma’s privilege allows her to take up the potentially reprehensible action of matchmaking. However, it does not exempt her from the expectation of marriage. Matrimony is arguably the most significant pursuit that a woman in Victorian England can make as it cements her place in society as a respectable and established woman regardless of whether she chooses to marry within or outside of her rank in society. Miss Taylor’s marriage does not spare her from the duty of pleasing an employer or husband, but she is nevertheless congratulated by “every friend” as she is now “settled in a home of her own” and “secure of a comfortable provision” (Austen 13). Thus, the expectation and appreciation of marriage in Highbury continues to largely restrict the vocational sovereignty of its women.
While marriage presents itself as a universal requirement for women, the characters Emma Woodhouse and Jane Fairfax demonstrate the emergence of alternate options. Emma’s initial stance towards marriage questions the necessity of marriage and rejects the notion as a whole. As a notable character with “none of the usual inducements of women to marry,” (Austen 82), Emma makes it clear that her marriage will be a conscious choice in the event of love rather than in compliance with societal expectations. In comparison, Jane’s predicament is a product of the other extreme. Given little but a “very few hundred pounds,” Jane’s penury makes independence á la Emma impossible. She is instead expected to supply a personal means of “respectable subsistence” by occupying a position as a governess. Whereas employment is seen as an ignominy and a fall from respect for accomplished young women, the mere establishment of jobs for women paves the way towards their entry into the greater parts of society. The excess possession of wealth or lack thereof creates newfound forms of sovereignty for the women of the novel, who are able to not only renounce marriage but also find a means to support themselves without it.
Ascribing to the Victorian ideals of civility and propriety, the women of Highbury are encouraged to cultivate a variety of qualities that are considered desirable for women. These mannerisms and skills are solely acquired through diligence and devotion and are therefore expected from all of the female characters of the novel. Emma’s comparatively superior status does not exempt her from this expectation but conversely holds her to a higher standard to attain these characteristics as they are considered the marks of the accomplished, civilized woman. This appreciation is most clearly portrayed in the novel’s depiction and introduction of Jane Fairfax. Having acquired a “decided superiority” in her acquirements, Jane’s proficiency at playing the pianoforte and her reserved personality cause her to be considered as a “very elegant, remarkably elegant” young woman who is respected regardless of her worldly endowment. Her cultivation of these talents has a twofold effect; while it enforces the stereotype of the meek, domestic, yet intelligent woman, it also allows her to catch the eye of Frank Churchill, who appreciates her enough to the point of marrying her. Thus, Jane’s cultivation of her “feminine” qualities has a paradoxical effect. Whereas her accomplishments and ensuing respect reinforce a certain set of expectations for women, they are the very qualities that stress her individuality and save her from her barren predicament through the prospect of matrimony.
The depiction of gender in Emma possesses both progressive and conservative elements that can be observed in three main points of contention. The act of matchmaking can be viewed as the empowerment of an individual, it occurs at the expense of the individual’s closest peers. The societal expectation of marriage in the novel can be viewed as a stifling and unyielding mark of submission but serves to illustrate that women are beginning to vie for their sovereignty by circumventing this requirement. While the attainment of traditionally feminine qualities perpetuates a conventional stereotype of the “perfect” woman, it allows the women to cultivate their skills and differentiate themselves from others by doing so. Although the novel does not espouse a clear message on gender, it nevertheless conveys an emerging rift between expectation and reality.
Emma Zunz by Borges: Marxist Approach Analysis
Marxists Analysis Essay of “Emma Zunz” by Borges
Explain why the Marxist approach works well for “Emma Zunz.”
Marxist approach views life in dialectic approach as all things happening in our day to day lives are two-sided. “Emma Zunz” is a story of irony that has ideas of that tends to be both on the side of justice and revenge, and of the right and wrong. Given that the story is that of the art of fiction, it portrays the true events in life as described by the Marxist approach. The character Emma Zunz is seeking a path of revenge mentally and emotionally through various means including; a maze of lies, anger, and hurt, and murder to seek justice for the death of his father. The tale is, therefore, a tragedy of restricted choices that views life on two sides. While striving to complete her mission, Emma came across a man who acts as a tool for Emma. Emma served her for pleasure whereas the man served her for justice, proving the Marxist approach that everything has two sides.
The Marxist approach has it that economic conflict produces various classes of people; the rich, middle, and the poor, and inherently class lead to conflict. For instance, in the tale of Emma Zunz, Emma is a lost child who has now become an avenging angel. She articulates her hatred of two systems of patriarchal oppression. The society is characterized by individuals who oppress the less privileged members in the system. The economic system in the story is that where male bosses exploit male and female workers while the social system is that whereby men exploit women such as the daughter of Manuel Maier. Manuel Maier was forced to change his name from Emmanuel Zunz, a derivation of his past identity. The daughter goes ahead to inherit the shame to live in the shadow of Emmanuel’s alleged crime (Borges 216).
Describe how the Zunz family has been affected by the declining economic circumstances
The Zunz family happens to be significantly affected by the declining economic conditions that are marked by the death of Manuel Maier. Emma Zunz recalls the outings to some small town when their father was still alive. The declining economic situations seemingly separated the family as Emma tries to remember the whereabouts of her mother even as she weeps. The declining financial conditions also led to the selling of a family house at auction, alongside a disgrace to the family, following a court verdict (Borges 217).
What is Emma’s attitude to her work, both official and unofficial?
Emma’s reaction to her work is that of determination. She decides to inherit the shame of his father and lives in the shadow of his alleged crime. Being by herself, she is determined to execute her act of revenge through every possible mean. For instance, when she comes across some men, she chooses one who cannot draw from her an empathetic response but instead act as a tool for her. Emma is determined to serve him for purposes of pleasure so long as he serves her for justice. Emma’s determination and confidence ends up in the horrible murder of Loewenthal as a way of completing her mission for revenge (Borges 219).
Comment on the line “Tearing up money is an act of impiety, like throwing away bread; the minute she did it, Emma wished she hadn’t”
The act of tearing the money can be associated with tearing the money, which is also linked to throwing away the bread. Both the impieties and improprieties are committed within the context of a greater meaning. She tore the money and the letter informing her of the death of Manuel Zunz as an indication of her loss of innocence. She regrets having torn the money and after that she is filled with a feeling of sadness even as she dresses up. The sense of sadness after tearing the money could also mean being sad because of losing her innocence (Borges 218).
Why is Aaron Lowenhal considered “in the eyes of all an upright man”?
Aaron Lowenhal was viewed by all as an upright man since he decided to stay in the outskirts of the town where criminal activities are not frequent as compared to the town. Being vigilant on his security is an indication of his wish for a society that is not characterized by criminal activities. He has a big dog in his residence as a way of ensuring maximum security. Aaron Lowenhal is also said to have paid an excellent dowry for his late wife; a factor that adds him the credit of being upright.
Are Borges characters exclusively determined by money and its role in the society?
The characters in the tale happen to have the love of money. For instance, Aaron Loewenthal is said to have paid an excellent dowry for his late wife. The same character is noted to have a strong passion for money. Apparently, he knows the roles of money in the society as evident by the dowry he paid.
What, ultimately, gives Emma’s work meaning?
Emma’s work is given meaning when she manages to defend her work of murder as the story ends. Her tone of voice through the phone happens to be real, just as her hatred. The death of Aaron Loewanhal seals the story as a successful work of Emma.
The Hidden Risks and Powers in “Emma”
In Emma, author Jane Austen uses third person narration and free indirect discourse to show the same objects from different perspectives. The detached narration provides an ironic perspective that criticizes the characters’ misreadings of situations. The use of free indirect discourse in the novel shows how many different characters read the same people or situations in completely different ways. Through these contrasting perspectives of the same objects, the use of perspective in the novel reveals more about the subjects than it does about the object itself. The subjects’ viewpoints reveal the characters’ personal desires and biases. The objective third person narration reveals the misguided subjective realities of the characters and criticizes how one-sidedness and presumption blind objective judgment.
Austen highlights perspective in Emma by using free indirect discourse. Perspective is the practice of showing the same object from different viewpoints. The third person narration flows freely in and out of the minds of different characters who have contrasting perspectives. For example, when Mr. Knightley and Emma are discussing Mr. Martin’s marriage proposal to Harriet Smith, the two argue about whether or not Harriet is a suitable match for Mr. Martin. In their discussion, their opinions about Harriet are revealed. While Emma believes Mr. Martin is “inferior to [Harriet’s] rank in society,” (98) Mr. Knightley argues that Mr. Martin is “as much her superior in sense as in situation” (97). Through the use of free indirect discourse, the narrator provides insight to both Mr. Knightley and Emma’s personal stakes in Mr. Martin’s proposal and Harriet’s refusal. As he leaves the conversation, Mr. Knightley is “very much vexed” and feels “ the disappointment of the young man, and [is] mortified to have been the means of promoting it by the sanction he had given; and the part which he was persuaded Emma had taken in the affair, was provoking him exceedingly” (101). The narrator provides insight into how Mr. Knightley feels as he leaves the conversation with Emma and explains why Mr. Knightley has such a furious reaction to the news that Harriet refused Mr. Martin. During the conversation, Mr. Knightley never explicitly states that he is so angry because he is embarrassed that he endorsed the match, so the advantage into his mind because of free indirect discourse provides new information about his character and further insight to his opinions about Harriet. The narrator also enters Emma’s mind during the argument, who “tries to look cheerfully unconcerned, but was really feeling uncomfortable…she [has] a sort of habitual respect for [Mr. Knightley’s] judgment in general” so it is unpleasant to have him so angrily opposite her on this matter (100). The narrator asserts, though, that Emma “[does] not repent what she has done: she still [thinks] of herself a better judge of such a point of female right and refinement than he could be” (100). Emma believes she knows Harriet better than Mr. Knightley, and therefore her judgment of the situation is more valid and credible. Her confidence in her decision to persuade Harriet not to marry Mr. Martin does not waver. The use of free indirect discourse allows both Mr. Knightley and Emma’s perspectives to be considered in the matter of Mr. Martin’s proposal. The seamless movement in and out of Mr. Knightley and Emma’s private thoughts gives the audience a balanced perspective of Harriet. Even though they are discussing and thinking about the same object — Harriet Smith — their differing opinions are revealed through their subjective perspectives of her.
Although one would expect that having multiple perspectives of the same object one would have a stronger objective understanding of the object, these perspectives end up revealing much more about the subject’s desires and biases than about the object itself. For example, when Emma first meets Harriet she notices that Harriet is “a very pretty girl, and her beauty happened to be of a sort which Emma particularly admired” (69). As a result, Emma quickly becomes “quite determined to continue the acquaintance,” (69) which is unsurprising considering Emma is still feeling “the absence of Mrs. Weston” (68). Emma decides in this moment that “she would notice her; she would improve her; she would detach her from her bad acquaintance, and introduce her into good society; she would form her opinions and her manners” (69). While there is some insight into Harriet’s character, the description of Emma’s perception of Harriet reveals more about Emma’s desires to shape and form Harriet into a suitable acquaintance for herself, “certainly a very kind undertaking; highly becoming her own situation in life, her leisure, and her powers” (69). Emma uses the opportunity to mold Harriet in order to exercise her power and to have something to keep her from being bored. Her desire to exercise this power reiterates how the narrator warns at the beginning of the novel that “the real evils indeed of Emma’s situation were the power of having rather too much her own way, and a disposition to think a little too well of herself” (55). Emma’s perspective of Harriet gives much more insight into Emma’s personality and desires than it does into what Harriet wants and who she is. Similarly, Mr. Knightley’s dissenting opinion of Frank Churchill reveals more about Mr. Knightley’s desires and bias than it does about Frank Churchill’s character. While everyone else in town seems to be liking Frank Churchill, especially Emma, Mr. Knightley believes Frank is “just the trifling, silly fellow [he] took him for” (203). This seemingly unjustified opinion of Frank makes a lot more sense when Mr. Knightley reveals his personal feelings for Emma, as it appeared prior that Frank and Emma would be acquainted or even married. Mr. Knightley’s perspective of Frank Churchill is therefore more indicative of his personal desires than it is of Frank’s character.
While the subjective perspectives are more telling of the subjects’ desires and biases than the object’s, there are instances in the novel where the perspectives of the subjects entirely contradict the objective reality. The use of free indirect discourse reveals the flaws of allowing personal bias to block objective judgment well before the characters realize it themselves. For example, when Mr. Elton gives Emma the charade, because she so desperately wants to play matchmaker and set up Mr. Elton and Harriet, she completely misreads the charade to be intended for Harriet, when it is so clearly intended for her. While reading the charade, Emma reinforces that “this is saying very plainly” that Mr. Elton desires courtship with Harriet (106). Emma exclaims after the descriptions in the charade that the writing is “Harriet exactly” and asserts that he must be talking about “Harriet’s ready wit!” (106). At the end of the charade, Emma ensures Harrier that she “cannot have a moment’s doubt as to Mr. Elton’s intentions. [Harriet] is his object — and [she] will soon receive the completest proof of it” (107). Emma insists she has no doubts whatsoever that Mr. Elton writes about Harriet, but later it is revealed that Mr. Elton intended the charade for Emma. It becomes quite clear that Mr. Elton desires Emma all along during the party when “Harriet seemed quite forgotten” by Mr. Elton even though she is sick (139). However, only after their confrontation in the carriage does Emma realize the error of her ways and understand that “it was foolish, it was wrong, to take so active a part in bringing any two people together” (154). Emma “look[s] back as well as she [can]; but it was all confusion. She had taken up the idea, she supposed, and made everything bend to it” (152). In retrospect Emma becomes aware of how she manipulated all of Mr. Elton’s action in her mind to fit her subjective desires. While Emma’s intentions may have been good, she allows her own personal desires to blind any objective reality. Even when it is so obvious at the party that Mr. Elton desires Emma instead of Harriet, she still is shocked by the confrontation in the carriage where Mr. Elton “protest[s] that he had never thought seriously of Harriet — never!” (152). Emma’s inability to separate her personal desires from objective judgment results in deeply hurting both Mr. Elton and Harriet. Her actions also have consequences, as the “distressing explanation she had to make to Harriet” would cause “poor Harriet…suffering” (154). Not only is Emma unable to see objective truth, she also ends up really hurting her dear friend Harriet in the process. The third person narration reveals much earlier than Emma realizes that Mr. Elton desires Emma, not Harriet. The narrator’s foreshadowing and clues throughout the novel that the characters perspectives are often incorrect and can cause harm to others if they do not consider objective judgment reveals the problems with only considering one’s own perspective.
The narrator’s use of free indirect discourse provides insight into all of the characters’ perspectives and opinions. This form of narration seemingly provides an objective and more balanced view of the objects. However, the subjects’ perspectives of other characters ends up revealing more about the subjects’ desires and biases than they do about the objects they observe. The detached third person narration reveals a lot of information about the subjects using free indirect discourse, and also serves to criticize when their perspectives are entirely wrong. The multiple perspectives provided in the novel then also serve as a warning that one’s personal biases and presumptions shape a subjective reality that blinds objectivity, and as a result can seriously hurt others.
An Analysis of The Euthyphro Dilemma: Understanding the Concept of God
The Euthyphro Dilemma
The concept of God is one that is extremely abstract with no definite definition of God. The Euthyphro dialogue challenges one to attempt to define the exact nature of God. By determining the source of morality, the precise nature of God is found, and yet the basic characteristics that are attributed to God are called into question. Specifically, his rationality, goodness, and role as creator. The majority of the tenets that we hold about God are based largely in the fact that we know nothing definitely about him, and this dilemma is one of the ways that we can see just how we have overestimated the nature of God.
The Divine Command Theory
To believe that God is the source of morality, is to challenge his goodness and rationality. If God chooses what is good and bad at will and is his own standard by which he judges himself, anything he does including genocide, allowing rape, destroying the world, etc., can be considered a morally justifiable act. Without a way to check God, anything is permissible and yet nothing can be logically explained.
This view of God is slightly disturbing as morality seems to hold the common tenet of preservation of the human race, and this might be used to preserve the idea that God is rational, but factoring this into the equation, bad things are justified as moral to serve the greater good. That is, with this understanding of God as the source of morality, anything is justifiable so long as it preserves the most people. At this point, it can be questioned if God is good, because he does things that are perceived as bad.
In any case, presenting a reason for God’s action, even the reason of serving the greater good, makes morality a tenet outside of God’s power to destroy or change. It is a rule, which he abides by and is a rejection of the theory.
Rejection of Divine Command Theory
To believe that God knows what is good and relays it to us is to deny that he created the moral code. If God refers to this established concept to guide us, then it holds a higher authority, or at the very least, predates him. This challenges the concept of God as the sole creator. This does not indicate that he is not creator of humanity but rather that there are things outside of the locus of his control and scope of creation. He is also not perfect by himself, as the established moral code is obviously the source of his “perfection” and is therefore perfect unto itself.
Under the Divine Command Theory, it is not necessary to believe in God to live a moral life. If God, is the source of morality, and you are intentially and purposefully living within the realms of his commands, then you have some belief in the validity of his commands and therefore him. However, with no knowledge that there are any commands, you can naturally live within them. That is to say, you can be living in the realms his moral code, with no knowledge that he exists at all. On the other hand, to reject the theory, you accept that there is morality outside of God. God’s word and morality are no longer mutually exclusive. You may live a moral life, and not believe in God. Either way, a belief in God is not necessary to live morally.
That being said, most of what we assume about God’s nature, is just that; assumptions. God does not have to be omniscient or perfect to have created us and the world we live in. He does not have to be the sole creator, as the question is then posed, what is the genesis of his state of being and did he “create” himself. If not, we have no point of reference for something that does not begin. We must revise our view of God if we hope to understand the role that he plays, if he exists to play one at all.
The Understanding of the Role of Education in Emma
Emma, Jane Austen’s most comical and spirited novel, is well received for its lively characters and engaging narrative. In yet another story of society verses sensibility, Austen weaves together a myriad of incidents to illustrate how youthful presumptions can distort the bigger picture. In a sense, the storyline of events veils the novel’s real plot, which is devoted to showing how experience is the schoolmaster of maturation. Austen’s deeper purpose, therefore, is to demonstrate that the journey of self-discovery is completed through many forms of education. The education of Emma, the kind-hearted but closed-minded heroine, particularly relies on a combination of lessons that improve her social understanding and awaken her personal awareness.
On the surface, it seems that Emma Woodhouse is the blessed child. Austen first describes her as “handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition” (3). She has never met with someone she could not charm, never encountered much that was able to “distress or vex her” (3). In spite of her good nature and attractive person, Emma suffers from “the power of having rather too much her own way,” and is also inclined “to think a little too well of herself” (4). Her main problem, however, is that she is as insensible of these character flaws as she is comfortable with her life situation. All this considered, it is quite evident that Emma’s world must be shaken for her complacency will dislodge itself. This earthquake comes when Emma’s governess, Miss Taylor, marries. Emma’s first and perhaps most challenging lesson, then, is to learn how to subdue her dependency on companionship and grow accustomed to the greatest solitude she has ever known.
Austen suggests that independence is the most pivotal education one can have. This concept of being alone may be Emma’s first lesson, but it is also the most important one in her progress towards maturation. Until she no longer has the constant company of her former governess and best friend, Emma is blissfully ignorant of her own fear of being by herself. She is likewise unaware of her desire for a husband. In good humour, she allows that love might induce her to matrimony, but the idea of she would fall in love is as absurd as sunbathing in Siberia. Laughing at the idea, Emma heartily declares to Harriet “…I have never been in love; it is not my way, or my nature; and I do not think I ever shall” (78). What Emma omits saying is that it also embodies what she lives in horror of: being powerless. As Bruce Stovel infers, “Emma fears love because she considers it to be blind. Emma is exquisitely self-contained: the idea of being out of control, of losing her will in the grip of passion, disturbs her.” Oddly enough, it is Emma’s perception of love and marriage, the ultimate forms of companionship, which obscure her estimation of their inherent value. “If I were to marry,” says she, “I must expect to repent it” (78). Any penitence on her part comes once the shroud of puerile individuality gives way to her sentiments for Mr. Knightley, the man destined to be her husband.
Before Emma can admit that she does both want and need a husband, she has to realize the social consequence of married status. To her mind, she will always be so highly regarded that she will gain nothing desirable in a marriage. Thus, she fixes her focus on improving the young Harriet Smith. Harriet, unlike Emma, is “not clever,” and although she is both pretty and sweet-tempered, she has no idea of her family connections, meaning she has no male relation to establish her station in society. Emma is initially drawn to Harriet by her beauty, but, also, by Harriet’s impressionable character. More than anything, Emma seems to be enamoured with the idea of having her own protÃ©gÃ©e for whom she can “form her opinions and her manners” (20). The friendship she instigates, then, is Emma’s expression of her desire for control, as well as her longing to be an irreplaceable person. Beyond that, Harriet’s role in Emma’s enlightenment is instructive because it opens Emma’s eyes to her own inaccurate presumptions. Through Harriet’s attachment to Mr. Elton, the young vicar of Highbury, Emma reaps the consequences of her foolish encouragement of Harriet’s affections. This is a prime example of how Austen uses the power of influence as a form of education for her heroine. Emma gains a very keen awareness of how she can injure others, despite the good intentions she may have.
The Harriet-Elton debacle also teaches Emma about the barriers of social hierarchy. Mr. Elton’s high hopes for social aggrandizement are palpable to nearly everyone but Emma and Harriet, who has absolutely no claim in society. As he says, “Every body has their level… I need not so totally despair of an equal alliance, as to be addressing myself to Miss Smith!” (122). Emma’s frustration overshadows her own fastidious sense of rank. Once her disappointment for Harriet has subsided, however, she can think of nothing but Elton’s impertinence in setting his cap at her. She is almost insulted that he “should suppose himself her equal in connection or mind,” (125) and is convinced that “he must know that in fortune and in consequences she was greatly his superior” (126). In other words, Emma sees an impassable chasm between their social ranks–very much like the one he perceives between himself and Harriet. Her conceit is, in many ways, just as pitiful as his. This similarity is yet another form of instruction that Austen uses for her disgruntled pupil. Remarkably, Emma does not realize the significance of this experience until she sees it as a reflection of her own misconceptions. As Bradbury puts it, “Emma learns…by analogy.” In her moment of enlightenment, she begins to understand how “If she had so misinterpreted [Mr. Elton’s] feelings, she had little right to wonder that he, with self-interest to blind him, should have mistaken hers” (126).
Mentorship is another form of education that Austen administers to her heroine. Mr. Knightley, the wealthy gentleman who owns the great estate of Donwell Abbey, best fulfils the role of Emma’s present counsellor. With his “sensible” nature and sound judgment, Mr. Knightley is the one person who consistently forms accurate opinions of the people around him. It is Mr. Knightley who foresees the trouble that Emma might put upon Harriet, despite her well-meaning motives, and it is also Mr. Knightley who first suspects the secret relationship between Frank Churchill and Jane Fairfax. Mr. Knightley is a good mentor indeed, for he “is one of the few people who could see faults in Emma Woodhouse, and the only one who ever told her of them” (8). As Emma jokes, “Mr. Knightley loves to find fault with me” (8). This jest could not be further from the truth, however, because Mr. Knightley is as kind with his criticism as he is discerning of her flaws. Miss Taylor gave her principles, but Mr. Knightley gives Emma conviction. As he says, “I will tell you truths while I can, satisfied with proving myself your friend by very faithful counsel” (347). Mr. Knightley is, to any end, most dedicated to the cause of refining the moral character of his beloved Emma.
Austen’s final and most compelling tutorial is to reveal the twists of fate to her unsuspecting heroine. This is both humiliating and life-changing for Emma, for although her vanity is consistently gratified, her judgment is exposed as a ridiculously fallible guide. Emma’s list of erroneous conjectures is lengthy. She was mistaken about Mr. Elton, about Harriet’s status by birthright, in her judgment of Mr. Martin too harshly; she allows herself to believe that Jane Fairfax might have an improper relationship with her friend’s husband, Mr. Dixon; she convinces herself that she is in love with Frank Churchill and that he returns her affections; and, finally, she decides that Harriet is quite taken with Frank. As these suppositions prove false, she is able to see the truth. Furthermore, Emma’s sudden clarity reveals to her that she loves Mr. Knightley.
In addition to studying the author’s modes of education, it is worth noting how Emma reacts to her education. Emma’s revelations are manifest in rapid streams of consciousness that interrupt the novel’s general combination of narration and dialogue. These short, disjointed thoughts, accentuated by numerous hyphens and exclamation marks, flow from Emma’s racing mind in a surprisingly cogent form. What is of interest, however, is the fact that each of these soliloquies denotes an ingestion of the truth. Her edification is, in essence, the summation of these epiphanic moments. Her maturing can be traced by how long it takes her to recover from these upheavals of distress and emotion. The first outburst, which occurs after Mr. Elton proposes to her, is “not poignant enough to keep [her] eyes unclosed” at night (127). Emma’s “youth and natural cheerfulness” are, at first, very hard to disturb for any great length of time (127). When Mr. Knightley reprimands Emma for her insolence towards Miss Bates, however, she is so “forcibly struck” that “Time [does] not compose her” (347). Her conviction is so deep that she mopes about as though “she had never been so depressed” (347). Her disposition is similarly inflicted when she believes Mr. Knightley to be in love with Harriet, and in this particular reverie, we see how a crestfallen heroine trembles with shame and lovesickness.
As Austen takes Emma through her education, she proves that every experience in life is a lesson when one is willing to be educated. Austen also demonstrates the value of change by revealing the need for it. As she so eloquently phrases it, “Seldom, very seldom does complete truth belong to any human disclosure; seldom can it happen that something is not a little disguised, or a little mistaken…” (399). This is very much the story of Emma’s life, which is little more than a comedy of errors until her maturation has softened the rougher edges of her character. It is, indeed, difficult to learn that favouring private assumptions, however well thought out they may be, is as dangerous as judging by appearances. This is the reason, therefore, that Austen uses a plethora of teaching techniques to edify her brightest pupil.
The Comparison of the Values the Main Characters Have
From their introductions in Emma, Jane Austen sets the characters of Frank Churchill and Mr. Knightley apart, with Mr. Knightley immediately being described as “a sensible man” while Frank Churchill is described as “very good-looking” and in possession of a cheerful constitution much like his father’s. While there are similarities between the two such as their polite and affectionate manners towards those they care for, they differ mostly because of their differences in being reserved. Frank is rather indifferent towards the mixing of classes and can probably be most aptly described as a “dandy” in his speech and actions. Mr. Knightley on the other hand carries out his duties in their society without crossing the bounds of social propriety and almost always expresses ‘correct’ opinions with a simplicity and logic which is not only educational to Emma but also to the readers. While both are seen to have good, charming qualities, the novel does however seem to value Mr. Knightley’s qualities above Frank’s and as seen through Emma’s eyes, upholds Mr. Knightley as the gold standard for the ideal “English man”.
Frank Churchill is seen by many of the characters as an ideal man because of his good looks and charm. It would appear that part of this charm comes from his ability to determine what will please a person without crossing the line into the realm of over-familiarity. When complimenting Mrs. Weston he “did not advance a word of praise beyond what she (Emma) knew to be thoroughly deserved” despite having only known her for a day. Even Mrs. Elton finds “his manners are precisely what I (she) like and approve” even though Frank’s inward thoughts about her are quite the opposite of her opinion of him. This conveys to the readers that Frank is capable of charming and befriending even those who he does not like as he is able to keep his feelings of contempt hidden beneath a layer of polite ease. Despite these good aspects of his personality Frank is not always judged by the novel in a particularly positive light, espicially with regards to Mr. Knightley’s opinion of him. In the beginning of the novel, before Frank even appears, Mr. Knightley rightly judges that “he can have no English delicacy towards the feelings of other people”, a statement that is certainly revealed to be true at the end of the novel when everyone finds out he has kept a secret engagement to Jane Fairfax all along. This demonstrates a somewhat selfish quality as he is at times capable of putting his wishes above the rules of social and moral propriety.
Mr. Knightley, conversely, is a character that might be deemed as Austen’s ‘ideal’ but not necessarily a modern reader’s, although most would certainly recognise him to be the voice of reason in the novel. Readers of the novel are not the only ones who value Mr. Knightley’s opinion as it is mentioned every now and then that other characters such as Mr. Martin and Mr. Elton go to him for advice and counsel. Austen puts Mr. Knightley in a very good light by also showing the readers how capable he is in handling characters with more problematic traits. At his introduction in the novel itself he assuages Mr. Woodhouse’s grief at Miss Taylor’s wedding and his kindness in giving the Bates’ apples from his own orchard also reveal signs of sensibility towards the people in his community to readers. Some critics say that with Knightley, Austen has created the image of an almost faultless “English man”, fully equipped with all the poise and rationality of a gentleman. This point is supported by Emma’s continuous comparisons of other male characters to Mr. Knightley with him always coming out as the superior male specimen. The only mistake in opinion he ever makes in the novel is of Emma’s love for Frank but this is easily forgiven by readers as it was a mistake made out of his jealousy for all the affection Emma shows Frank. Unlike Frank’s sometimes unpredictable nature, as seen when he travels all the way to London for a haircut, Mr. Knightley is a character that readers can always trust as being honest, perceptive and logical. Readers might even find themselves thinking as Emma did : “There was no denying that those brothers (the Knightleys) had penetration”.
The novel quite clearly values Knightley’s simplicity and rationality over Frank’s charming, friendly nature as Austen uses free indirect speech to convey the characters thoughts to the readers. Most of the novel is actually descriptions of Emma’s thoughts and it is through her thoughts that readers see, while Frank is charming and good-natured, his behaviour at times causes “Emma’s very good opinion” of him to be “shaken”. His aforementioned trip to London for a haircut had “an air of foppery and nonsense in it which she could not approve” and that certainly readers would not approve of either. In comparison, Mr. Knightley is always portrayed as upright, morally and socially conscious and never makes a decision that would so much as even suggest an air of “foppery”. Austen appears to reward his character for all of his perceptiveness by dedicating certain chapters and passages to his opinion as seen in his conversation with Mrs. Weston about Emma and Harriet and in the passage about his suspicions of Frank having “inclination to trifle with Jane Fairfax”. It is also precisely because readers trust Mr. Knightley’s opinion that at times his negative opinions of Frank may influence readers into also having suspicions of Frank’s actions, thus presenting him in a bad light.
Ultimately, Mr. Knightley and Frank Churchill’s characters can be said, as some critics have noted, to be representations of a man at different levels of maturity. Besides social and moral propriety, age plays a role as well in influencing the characters opinions of each other; Mr. Woodhouse and Miss Bates are both given allowances for peculiar behaviour due to their age and readers may also sometimes sympathise with Emma for being foolish and overly cocky in her youth. As such, Frank Churchill is often times referred to as a “young man” and is sometimes forgiven for frivolous actions as they are put down as a consequence of age. Nevertheless, although Knightley appears to be favoured by the novel as an exemplary man with finer values, both are rewarded at the end of the novel with marriage to partners that they love. In Frank’s case some critics have commented that his marriage to Jane; a “superior woman”, suggests that while Austen does not always approve of his values or behaviour she still is mildly infatuated with this character’s charm.
The Life and Impact of Emma Lazarus on America Through the Construction of the Iconic Statue of Liberty in New York City
The statue of liberty is an iconic feature of the United States. People all over the world travel to New York City and go directly to the historic statue. Costumes of the green woman are made, people dress up like the statue and hope tourists take pictures with them in exchange for money. Key-chains, tours, basically anything you could think of can be related to the statue. However, the Statue of Liberty is more than just a tourist attraction and a symbol to put on T-Shirts. The statue’s torch lights the way to freedom showing America the path to liberty. At the bottom of the significant statue, it says, “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” (1).
Emma Lazarus was the constructor of these words that will forever stand with America. Lazarus, born on July 22, 1849, was a poet in New York. She was born into a wealthy family that was descended from Sephardic Jewish Americans. Her family was large; her parents Moses and Ester Lazarus had seven children. Her father Moses gained wealth through the sugar refining business. Therefore, Emma was “educated by private tutors with whom she studied mythology, music, American poetry, European literature, German, French, and Italian” (2). Through her impeccable education she was able to write poetry with ease. Her family was also able to move high in society and was able to afford a mansion in Rhode Island.
Lazarus’ parents supported her interest in poetry immensely. Her father even published a book of her poetry called “Poems and Translations Written Between the Ages of Fourteen and Seventeen.” Two years later, Lazarus sent a copy of her first book to Ralph Waldo Emerson. He then became her mentor and a persistent reader of her works. Emerson helped her excessively throughout her writing career, despite a meager mishap. Lazarus had hoped and thought that her poems would appear in Emerson’s anthology “Parnassus.” However, she was angry when she discovered her work was nowhere in the anthology. Despite their fight, Lazarus continued looking at Emerson as a mentor and even commended him in some of her works.
Although Lazarus’ father was very supportive of her works, he was incredibly strict over her. He had obsessive control over his daughter and that is why she never got married. Even though she never got married, Emerson romantically captivated her. Despite her love for her mentor, she continued single until she passed away at the young age of 38 from Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Lazarus was very well known during her lifetime because “she published more than 50 poems in popular magazines, including Lippincott’s and The Century. She also published a book of poetry, called Admetus and Other Poems, in 1871, and a novel, called Alide: An Episode in Goethe’s Life, in 1874” (3). Included in her abundance of works is “The New Colossus,” which is what she is best known for today and the poem that is inscribed on the Statue of Liberty.
Despite being an impeccable poet, Lazarus is known for more than just that. She was an advocate for anti-Semitism as well as working with immigrants. She believed that it was time for actions rather than words. During her lifetime, she traveled to Europe twice and spoke out against anti-Semitism. When she was back in New York, she worked with Jewish refugees. In accordance with all her efforts, she was able to help start the Hebrew Technical Institute, which provides vocational training for new Jewish immigrants.
She visited at the New York harbor and witnessed the Russian refugees and the horrific conditions they lived in. She also volunteered at the Hebrew Immigrant Aid society. Growing up wealthy and high in society she was aware of how little she could relate to the immigrant’s struggles. “While working among Russian immigrants, she would sometimes joke, “What would my society friends say if they saw me here?”” (4).
The best and most productive time for Lazarus was the early 1880s. In accordance to all her publications in magazines and essays, she put out a highly admired volume of translations. During this time she also spoke out as a Jew and American writer concurrently. Due to this, she had to face the challenge of being part of two often-conflicting cultures. To make matters even worse, she had unequal treatment in both cultures by being a woman as well.
Lazarus impacted America immensely with the writing of her words on the Statue of Liberty. Immigrants from all over the world enter through Ellis Island and will see her words, tourists will see her words, and even New Yorkers will see her words. Her words will forever be there.
In the magazines that she published in, she also talked about stereotypes that ignited prejudice against Jewish people. She also used the magazines to arouse passion for a new Jewish homeland in Palestine.
Lazarus was important in the beginning of the Zionist movement. The Zionist movement is a nationalist political movement of Jews that supports the re-establishment of a Jewish homeland. She advocated for this thirteen years before the first official use of the term Zionism. The movement eventually led to Israel being the territory for Jewish people in 1948, all thanks to Lazarus who eventually ignited to movement.
I relate to Lazarus immensely because I am also a Jewish woman. Lazarus’s writing was influenced by being Jewish and gave her the passion to speak out for their rights. Knowing that she was an advocate for anti-Semitism means a lot to me and I’m sure to any other Jew. I grew up Jewish and went to Hebrew school for about 8 years as well as having a Bat-Mitzvah. Reading about how passionate she is about Judaism as well as freedom and relief for everyone is eye opening.
Being Jewish is also a large part of my life. I engage in activities at UCF for Jewish students such as Hillel and Chabbad. We learn all about Judaism, however I’ve never heard of Emma Lazarus until now. I feel like a better Jew knowing she advocated for such important aspects in the Jewish religion.
I am finally eighteen years old and eligible to go to Israel on Birthright. Birthright is a free trip for Jewish people ages 18-26 to go to Israel and experience the land and their Jewish identity. Without Zionism, without Lazarus, I would never have this opportunity.
Although Emma Lazarus died at the age of 38, she did leave an impact on America. She had memorial issues filled with tributes to her as many people mourned her early death. As well as the Zionist movement, she also sparked inspiration in activists throughout the years. “The Emma Lazarus Federation of Jewish Woman’s Club” is also a tremendous impact that she left. In this club, its members fought anti-Semitism and racism and also celebrated Jewish culture. This club therefore carried on Lazarus’ motives and her ideals were brought forward for the years to come.
Emma Lazarus is an impeccable woman. She fought for what she believed in even against all odds of Anti-Semitism and the horrific conditions of immigrants. She lived wealthy all her life but did so much to help those who were not as fortunate as her. Whenever I take my trip to Israel I will now feel a deeper connection to the Jewish homeland and learn more about my Jewish Identity.
New and old, ethical and technical dilemmas in experimental medicine
Today, medicine has a central place between natural and anthropological sciences. The basic method of most fundamental medical sciences is an experiment. However, during some experiments, there are many technical and ethical dilemmas regarding the motive and goals of the research, as well as the way the research is being conducted. Moral rules and ideas provide the basis of ethical conduct in medical research, prohibiting unacceptable behavior and inspire us, researchers, to act in a manner that ensures humanity in our work. Ethical principles of experimentation should rely on the moral culture of a physician, as a key part of his professionalism.
The root of the word ”medicine” is derived from Indo-European “med” which means ”mean” or ”measure”. Today, medicine has a central place between natural and anthropological sciences (social sciences, humanities) . In medicine, especially in its branch pathological physiology, or pathophysiology, many achievements of fundamental and applied science are synthesized into one academic discipline. The basic method of pathological physiology, based on empiricism (the doctrine that knowledge derives from experience), is an experiment . In an experiment, researchers observe a certain natural phenomenon, in controlled, and sometimes, deliberately altered conditions. However, during some experiments, there are many technical and ethical dilemmas regarding the motive and goals of the research, as well as the way the research is being conducted. Some professionals state that a major question at the intersection of medicine and philosophy is “How ought we to practice medical research?”, and to answer that question, physicians, scientists, lawyers, policymakers, and philosophers vet difficult yet alluring issues such as the nature of research, the requirements of informed consent, the role of money in research etc . Moral rules and ideas provide the basis of ethical conduct in medical research, prohibiting unacceptable behavior and inspire us, researchers, to act in a manner that ensures humanity in our work. Moral ideals that are followed in basic medical sciences, such as pathophysiology, are the same as those ideas present in good medical practice (clinical medicine).
Morality is a central core of human relations. Most religions, as well as ethics as a science, put morality as the single, most important aspect of human behavior. Most authors agree with the definition that ethics is a unique branch of philosophy that deals with values related with human conduct, with respect to the rightness and wrongness of certain actions and to the goodness and badness of the motives and ends of such actions .
Today, different forms of knowledge that are given to us by modern science cannot be covered by a simple philosophical principle. Although traditional ethical analysis has a great value to humanity, it is sometimes difficult to give an adequate moral assessment of the modern technologies of today, without observing their sociological, political and economic dimension. Scientists, sometimes, do not know how the knowledge that they discover, will be used in the future. Some authors suggest that a new science, “”metascience””, a science where physical, the psychological and the spiritual realms are integrated into a unity, might be needed in order to establish the connection between the conventional philosophy, ethics, and social and humanistic aspects of scientific practice (Meta-Science, see references). This is especially true, knowing that science is today rapidly changing, not only in research techniques and organizational structure but also in its relations with the society .
Some authors believe that there is a wide gulf that separates secular bioethics from Christian bioethics, and that Christian bioethics, unlike secular bioethics, understand that morality is about coming into a relationship with God . This is especially true in modern times when many intellectuals try to define moral and ethical values without the recognition of the existence of God. As some scholars say, “The project of articulating a coherent, canonical, content-full, secular morality-cum-bioethics fails, because it does not acknowledge sin, which is to say, it does not acknowledge the centrality of holiness, which is essential to a non-distorted understanding of human existence and of morality” . Some important observations about God, science, and philosophy were made by famous Christian philosopher, George Berkeley. “From my own being, and from the dependency I find in myself and my ideas, I do, by an act of reason, necessarily infer the existence of a God, and of all created things in the mind of God.” ; “All the choir of heaven and furniture of earth – in a word, all those bodies which compose the frame of the world – have not any subsistence without a mind.” . Christian philosophy with its bioethics makes a unique and irreplaceable contribution by disclosing that one will see truly only insofar as one orient rightly in worship to the source of all being, God .
Experiments in medical sciences
Each diagnostic and therapeutic procedure is in a way, broadly speaking, an experiment on a human being. Many therapeutic measures and medications are applied to animal models before their use in humans. The main advantage of an animal research model is the ability to test a specific morphological, biochemical, immunological or metabolic disorder, that under present conditions cannot be studied in humans. However, animal models are not simple copies of human diseases. Considering the moral aspects of new medical technologies, it should be noted that many “new” techniques that modern medicine applies, were developed and used at some point in the past, even centuries ago. For example, the first experimental studies on animal artificial fertilization were performed by an Italian priest and physiologist Lazzaro Spallanzani (1729–1799) . Every medical researcher should remember that most new medical technologies, in their essence do not pose a moral problem, however, the problem exists when a researcher or a doctor does not conform to basic moral principles when applying/using that technology.
Laws as ethical regulations
Although modern laws define some principles in good scientific practice, some ethical values are either not present, or not completely covered by today’s regulative. The medical experiments conducted by German doctors during The Second world war and prosecuted in the so-called “Doctors’ Trial” resulted in the creation of the Nuremberg Code to control future experiments on humans. Experiments on humans can be divided into two groups: experiments on patients where there is the possibility that research results will have a favorable impact on the disease, and experiments with scientific purposes only.
On 19th/20th August 1947, the American military tribunal in the verdict on German physicians declared under the section “”Permissible Medical Experiments”” ten points, which are today known as the “”Nuremberg Code””, and have an immense importance in modern clinical research practice. Here, we state those principles (taken from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, see references):
- The voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential.
- The experiment should be such as to yield fruitful results for the good of society, unprocurable by other methods or means of study, and not random and unnecessary in nature.
- The experiment should be so designed and based on the results of animal experimentation and a knowledge of the natural history of the disease or other problem under study that the anticipated results will justify the performance of the experiment.
- The experiment should be so conducted as to avoid all unnecessary physical and mental suffering and injury.
- No experiment should be conducted where there is an a priori reason to believe that death or disabling injury will occur; except, perhaps, in those experiments where the experimental physicians also serve as subjects.
- The degree of risk to be taken should never exceed that determined by the humanitarian importance of the problem to be solved by the experiment.
- Proper preparations should be made, and adequate facilities provided to protect the experimental subject against even remote possibilities of injury, disability, or death.
- The experiment should be conducted only by scientifically qualified persons.
- During the course of the experiment, the human subject should be at liberty to bring the experiment to an end if he has reached the physical or mental state where continuation of the experiment seems to him to be impossible.
- During the course of the experiment the scientist in charge must be prepared to terminate the experiment at any stage, if he has probable cause to believe, in the exercise of the good faith, superior skill and careful judgment required of him that a continuation of the experiment is likely to result in injury, disability, or death to the experimental subject. (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, for details, see references)
Experiments on human subjects are as old as the history of medicine. There are written documents that such experiments were carried out on prisoners and slaves. In ancient times of Cleopatra, slaves were used to testing some poisons. In Hippocrates’ time, experiment on people was forbidden. However, in the period after Hippocrates, during the famous Alexandrian school, doctors performed vivisection of criminals and, thus, taught their students about the physiology and anatomy of man. In World War II, Nazi doctors in concentration camps monstrously performed vivisection and various other experiments on live human beings. Mengele, Eppinger and other Nazi doctors (“”The Boys from Brazil””) remain a synonym for criminal, bestial relation towards humanity. Professional ethics are the backbone of Medicine: Paracelsus (1493-1541), founder of pharmaceutical chemistry, knowing the thin line that separates a medicament and a poison, proclaimed the doctor’s virtue and professional ethics ad the backbone of medicine .
In 1964 in Helsinki, Finland, The Declaration of Helsinki was developed by the World Medical Association as a set of ethical principles concerning experiments in medical practice. In the preamble of the Helsinki Declaration, it is stated: “Medical research is subject to ethical standards that promote respect for all human subjects and protect their health and rights.” The Declaration of Helsinki and its six revisions also set the rule that no medical research on humans must be conducted before adequate testing has been done on animals while respecting all principles of ethics in veterinary medicine . 3R Five years before the Helsinki Declaration, “The principles of human experimental technique in the work with laboratory animals” was published. It was suggested that experiments on animals were to be replaced (Replace) with some other methods, to reduce the number of animals (Reduce) to a minimum and to improve (Refine) the conditions in experiments so that pain and stress of animals would be avoided . However, some technical dilemmas with the implementation of the so-called 3R rule emerged.
“Replacement” is particularly a problem in toxicology. There are many examples of successful alternative methods. However, the application of these methods is usually limited to the laboratory where they were used and require technology transfer. Unfortunately, many methods, when or if published in the scientific literature are not standardized, or nor reproducible. Principle “reduction” is understandable, but there are difficulties in applying appropriate statistical methods in academic research. Sometimes it leads to lowering the number of animals to the point in which wrong research conclusions are made.
As for the moral aspects of animal protection, archbishop Suroski Anthony does not agree with Descartes’ philosophy that animals are like machines which do not have a soul. The archbishop said that “”We, human beings, doing it out of charity, help the animals and protect them from feeling pain, but we do not think about animals as beings that go to eternity like humans do””  Moral ideas for basic research give way to the practical side of scientific research. Many researchers think that animal experimentation will, for the time being, remain indispensable in biomedical research, although its role will shift in the direction of the confirmation of results obtained by animal-free methods [16-18].
All in all, growing public concern for the moral, social and economic role of science encourages us to think about what we, researchers, actually do. Ethical principles of experimentation should rely on the moral culture of a physician, as a key part of his professionalism.
Clueless – Modernization Of Jane Austen’S Emma
“It is believed that every original idea has already been conceived hundreds of times over. The challenge of creativity is to transform a familiar concept into something that is unique to one’s personal understanding. Pop-culture is full of claimed ideas, transformed into something entirely new. Classic literature is a well of untapped potential that pop-culture exploits, allowing creators to take tried-and-true concepts and turn them into something relatable in the present day.
Jane Austen is the author of many such classics, one of the most famous being Emma, a story of misguided matchmaking and youthful arrogance. Though adapted several times in period style, director Amy Heckerling has taken Austen’s classic novel and transplanted it into cusp of twenty-first century, modernizing it for a new audience.
In modernizing Emma, Heckerling completely subverted the traditional methods of classical revisions. Movie adaptations of Emma are typically historical pieces set in the early nineteenth century that attempt to encapsulate the atmosphere of the period. They are meticulous in their recreation of the dress, speech patterns, and social norms of the original novel. Clueless deviates drastically from this formula, relocating the setting almost two hundred years forward in time to California in the mid-nineties. Swapping the village of Highbury for Bronson Alcott High School, the story becomes relatable for western audiences. Modern high schools greatly resemble English upper class society in the early nineteenth century, serving as a familiar background for battles of social status and inane gossip. Both Highbury and Bronson Alcott High School display rigid social hierarchies in their own self-contained spheres, which have a pronounced impact on the character’s lives.
The titular personality in Jane Austen’s novel, Emma Woodhouse, is reimagined in Clueless as Cher Horowitz, a soon-to-be sixteen-year old living in Beverly Hills. Both Emma and Cher are portrayed as extremely wealthy, manipulative, and vain. As Austen first characterized, their fathers overindulge them, and without a maternal figure to temper them, both women reign supreme over their personal social circles. They are spoiled by a lavish lifestyle- a cell phone, high-tech wardrobe, and new Jeep for Cher, and handmade gowns, fine carriages, and picnics for Emma. Though modern interpretations of wealth and power look different than they did hundreds of years ago, the concepts are the same, used by both Clueless and Emma to accentuate the protagonists’ lack of restraint. While human personality has remained constant, social norms have evolved drastically.
In modernizing Clueless, Heckerling addressed the notable change in societal standards towards a progressive mindset. Heckerling makes her first change to Emma with the addition of Dione, Cher’s best friend, who has no exact equivalent in the original novel. Dionne is a wealthy young African–American, as is her boyfriend Murray. Heckerling uses these characters to showcase modern diversity while adding entertaining elements to the movie, particularly Dionne and Murray’s tumultuous teenage romance. Additionally, Heckerling utilizes Asian-Americans, Hispanics, and those of Persian ethnicity in contrast to the Caucasian-centric society of nineteenth century England, reflecting the American melting pot. In a continued push for diversity, we are introduced to Christian, a new student Cher fancies herself in love with.
Death Penalty Dilemma
The dilemma of whether or not the Death Penalty is ethical is major problem facing society today. The death penalty is given to those who commit crimes deemed by society and government as deserving the infliction of death with crimes such as murder earning this punishment. A widely controversial subject, the death penalty is a divider among many ideologies, religions, and cultures. This essay will go over why the death penalty is ethical from the viewpoints of Immanuel Kant and Utilitarianism. Immanuel Kant believed that the death penalty was morally justifiable in certain cases. He absolutely insisted on the capital punishment for murders saying, “whoever has committed murder, must die” (Kant). He believed that a society that does not sentence someone who has killed people to death turns into an accomplice of crime. Kant criticizes the notion that nobody has a right to deprive a person of a right to live, therefore death penalty is unjust. He believed that a state should have the right to kill a murderer.
Kant believed that capital punishment is justified only regarding serious crimes such as murder or anything that causes a very large amount of damage to society. He believed it was impossible to allow any type of situation where a murderer should be entitled to any legal rights and would be able to justify his actions. He also believed that we could not replace capital punishment and didn’t know what could replace it if it was abolished. Kant thought that if a criminal is not punished then society has a controversial nature and undermines itself. Punishing an innocent man by accident was also preferable than failure to punish someone who has actually committed a crime to Kant. In Kant’s opinion a murderer sentenced to death is unallowed to appeal for pardon or lighter punishment. Authorities should have no such right to allow such a situation but if they still choose to do so, it means that legal authorities contradict themselves.
Legal authorities must not violate justice, arbitrariness regarding justice cannot be allowed. A legal system must strictly abide by the law, because observation of laws is an expression of justice. The death penalty in the United States is reserved for only the most heinous of crimes. It is not a state-run lottery that randomly chooses people at random from among all those convicted of murder. Instead, it is a system that selects the worst of the worst. If you were to sentence killers like the ones previously described to a lighter punishment, such as a long period in prison, would be disproportionate to the severity of the crime. Kant insisted on the capital punishment for murderers. Kant said that “whoever has committed murder, must die” (Kant). A society that does not sentence a murderer to death turns into an accomplice of this crime. Utilitarianism views the death penalty as being morally justifiable if it benefits society as a whole or promotes general happiness.
So, if someone committed a heinous crime like murder or rape then it would promote the general happiness of the public to have that person be punished with the death penalty. So, while even though punishing criminals might cause sadness and pain for them and the people who are close to them, these punishments will ensure the happiness of the society as a whole. It can be said that Utilitarianisms support death penalty because, violating laws causes pain for the majority of the society so preventing this pain is necessary.
However, they don’t believe it is all right to punish criminals in order to give them what they deserve or exact revenge or retribution on them. The problem with retribution, for utilitarianists, is that it promotes suffering without any gain in happiness. Utilitarianists also believe capital punishment is meant to deter many criminals from committing murder. The severity of losing one’s life is intended to cause fear and consequently prevent crime. The death penalty is also better than life imprisonment because it prevents the criminal who committed such heinous crimes from being released from prison and committing them again. From this viewpoint, the taking of the criminal’s life is justified because it prevents the taking of other, innocent lives. If decided that the permitting the criminal to live may result in consequences of more terrible crimes, then capital punishment would be considered an appropriate alternative in that case. These views show that the death penalty is an ethical solution to terrible crimes.
All of these viewpoints state that the death penalty should only be used in scenarios where the criminal in question has committed the most heinous of crimes, murder. Kant states that if a criminal has killed someone then he forfeits his rights as a human being and his punishment should be equal to the crime. Executing murderers prevents them from committing their crime again, and thus protects innocent victims. The good outweighs the bad, and the executioner is morally justified in taking the murderer’s life. It is actually more morally wrong to simply incarcerate a murderer to a life of air-conditioning, television equipped prison where they get three free meals a day, recreational time, and visits from people close to them.
Someone who murders another person can only be made to pay for their actions by forfeiting their rights and giving their life in place of the person they killed. It should be this way because a loss of freedom does not compare to loss of life. If the punishment for smaller crimes such as theft is imprisonment, then the punishment for murder must be even more severe, because human life is much more valuable than any material item. For example, if a murderer took the life of a child and the criminal was only given a life sentence then, the family of the victim will be paying taxes for his meals and his television. And if he were to take the college courses that prison might offer him, the family of the victim would be financing that as well. This goes against Kant and utilitarianism because it doesn’t strip the criminal of their rights or punish them accordingly, but it also doesn’t promote happiness to the victim’s family.
More than Revenge Many people claim that the death penalty is just a means of revenge. However, it is not while in reality, the murderer actually gets off fairly easy when they are sentenced to death. The murderer is often only injected with a lethal injection. If a person is given the lethal injection they are put to sleep and then administered potassium chloride that will stops their heart. The criminal dies from overdose and respiratory and cardiac arrest while they are unconscious. The small amount of pain the criminal goes through does not even begin to compensate for the pain of the victims and their families. The death penalty is not a deterrent against violent crime. The death penalty as a deterrent to crime is not the issue. Capital punishment is, pardon the redundancy, a punishment for crime.
As a punishment, the death penalty is 100% effective—every time it is used, the prisoner dies. Additionally, the death penalty is actually 100% effective as a deterrent to crime: the murderer will never commit another crime once he has been executed. While there is no proof that any innocents have been executed in this century, there is an abundance of evidence that prisoners who either escaped or were released early murdered innocent victims again. Professor [and former federal judge in Utah] Paul Cassell points out that Out of a sample of 164 paroled Georgia murderers, eight committed subsequent murders within seven years of release. A study of twenty Oregon murderers released on parole in 1979 found that one (i.e., five percent) had committed a subsequent homicide within five years of release. Another study found that of 11,404 persons originally convicted of “willful homicide” and released during 1965 and 1974, 34 were returned to prison for commission of a subsequent criminal homicide during the first year alone. Even those who are not released but still serve life terms murder again.
Cassell further notes that, “At least five federal prison officers have been killed since December 1982, and the inmates in at least three of the incidents were already serving life sentences for murder.” Had these prisoners been executed, innocent lives would have been saved. The death penalty is, without question, a deterrent to murder. The death penalty is not a cruel and unusual punishment. The framers of the Constitution supported the death penalty, and in fact constructed laws in order to carry it out, so it is ridiculous to claim that cruel and unusual punishment refers to the death penalty. Justice Antonin Scalia observed, “The Fifth Amendment provides that ‘[n]o persons shall be held to answer for a capital … crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury … nor be deprived of life … without the due process of law.’ This clearly permits the death penalty to be imposed, and establishes beyond doubt that the death penalty is not one of the ‘cruel and unusual punishments’ prohibited by the Eighth Amendment.” The death penalty is moral and just.
The American draftsmen were primarily concerned with proscribing “tortures” and other “barbarous” methods of punishment. The U.S. Supreme Court noted in Gregg v. Georgia that “In the earliest cases raising Eighth Amendment claims, the Court focused on particular methods of execution to determine whether they were too cruel to pass constitutional muster. The constitutionality of the sentence of death itself was not at issue.” The Senate Judiciary Committee once noted, “Murder does not simply differ in magnitude from extortion or burglary or property destruction offenses; it differs in kind. Its punishment ought to also differ in kind. It must acknowledge the inviolability and dignity of innocent human life.
It must, in short, be proportionate.” The very notion that one could be cruel while punishing a guilty murderer for murdering an innocent victim is laughable.