A number of you have been asking when Emma was going to be our AIA read along book, so in case you didn't hear, I'm pleased to tell you: THE TIME IS NOW.
I have a special connection to Emma, which I'll be talking about later in the month, but for now, I'm just going to get straight into our discussion questions for volume 1 of the novel. If you are participating in the read-along*, you are by no means required to answer these questions -- they are simply meant to get you thinking about the book, to give you some talking points in your own discussion, and to help guide the conversation in a more immersive group experience. If you'd like to talk about something completely different, feel free! If you have questions of your own that you would like to have discussed, then by all means, include them in your discussion blogs/vlogs/tweets, and send them my way and I'll try to add them in!
And if you don't vlog, blog or tweet, or just aren't keen to discuss this in those venues, feel free to leave your comments, answers, and suggestions in the comments!
Now, onto Qs for Volume I:
[For reference, volume one ends with the disappointment of Frank Churchill's failure to arrive as planned, and a conversation between Emma and Knightley on what kind of man Churchill must be.]
- Brief Background on YOU: Is this your first time reading Emma? First time reading Austen? Have you seen any film adaptations, or anything that aided you in reading the novel? Anything else you think we should know about you, before we get into the discussion?
- First Impressions: What are your initial thoughts on Emma (the novel), Emma (the character), and Volume I as a whole? First impressions of other characters? Any characters or events that particularly stand out to you?
- Busy-bodying: Austen is famously quoted as saying that Emma was "a heroine whom no one but myself will much like," and indeed, some people do find Emma off-putting or irritating. How did you respond to Emma as a character? What do you think of her perception of herself, especially given how things turn out (even as early as volume one), compared with how she thinks they should/will turn out?
- Follow up: We've had many instances of women who meddle in other's lives throughout Austen's works, and they generally do not fare well -- both in their treatment in the novels and in the court of reader opinion. Do you think Emma gets off easier than you'd expect, and if so, why do you think that is? (Wealth, youth, well-meaningness, etc?)
- Incidents & Interactions: Discuss choice events & impressions of volume one. Which are completely up to you, and they can be favorite or least-favorite happenings; consider discussing your reaction, how things played out, expected/unexpectedness, set up for future events, etc. Consider:
- not one but TWO marriage proposals, and Emma's reaction to them
- character relationships, both new and long-standing
- Emma's various schemes & means of filling her time
- Expectations (Emma's expectations of what others should/will do, people's expectations of Emma and what she is capable of, how her life will play out, etc.)
- Everything else: Any thing else you want to point out or discuss? Any questions you have for other readers? Parts you didn't understand? Final comments on volume one?
If you participate in the read-along discussions, please make sure to link up your answers on the AIA Linky (or use the hashtag #AustenInAugust on Twitter)!
* It's not too late to join the read-along! You can pick up free copies from all over the damn place (kindle | HTML | ePub | audiobook) and join in with us in reading Emma at any point this month! You can participate with the discussion questions, or join the twitter chat at the end of the month! Or you can tweet out thoughts, comments and questions at any point with the hashtag #AustenInAugust!
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