Jane Austen’s Emma takes place in England during the early 19th Century. The story is about a young woman whose mother has died and was therefore raised by an in-home educator/caretaker, a job description known as a governess. Her father still lives, but he’s exceptionally older than she is, resulting in a tight bond that develops between Emma and her caretaker. Emma has a sister who was married off, so when the time comes for the governess Miss Taylor to vacate the premises, who has married herself to become Mrs. Weston, Emma is faced with a crisis of identity: the specter of who or what she should be or become essentially lurks within her psyche. She is saddened by the loss of her governess, but she adapts and she carries on, but further than this, she becomes enraptured in the process of retaining her sanity by involving herself in the love life of another, younger woman she has been introduced to.
Elements of English life are detailed in this book of mild comic relief, and fashionable events and repartee unfold on a page to page basis where the characters reveal themselves through the words that they say to each other. That little description is given to the world around and the landscape abroad, and yet the reader is filled with a rather nourishing and complete picture of the world in which Emma voyages through the process of self-discovery, is testament to the genius of Jane Austen’s ability to tell a story through the device that is the novel.