Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Emma at Hogwarts

It is a truth universally acknowledged that ranking people by what Hogwarts house they would be in is one of the shallower ways to assess character. That said, we had some fun this morning using the Sorting Hat on the characters in Emma, our current readaloud. This is not a book heavy on Ravenclaws -- you have to go to Pride and Prejudice or Sense and Sensibility for those (or to my favorite, Henry Tilney of Northanger Abbey). But Slytherins and Hufflepuffs abound.

Emma is a Slytherin. She may be kind and loyal to her father, but her pride and snobbery, the way she uses her influence to manipulate, her attachment to her various schemes regardless of their intersection with reality, and her blindness to her own flaws put her solidly in green and silver territory.

Mr. Knightley: Gryffindor. He says what he thinks, he forges ahead while others dither, he will not be overborne, and he's brave enough to speak his love to Emma without knowing what response he'll receive.

Frank Churchill: Another Slytherin. Charming, cunning, and able to manipulate situations so skilfully that others end up doing exactly what he wants while thinking it their own idea. Secretive and willing to put the reputations of others at risk to preserve his own schemes.

Jane Fairfax: Gryffindor. Probably the bravest character in the book. She faces her future with clear eyes and makes straightforward plans to make her own living by the unpleasant task of being a governess. She bears up under the condescension of Emma, the machinations of Frank, the tediousness of her aunt, and the odiousness of Mrs. Elton. Would have been a better heroine than Emma, we think.

Mr. Elton: Slytherin. Oily, insincere, and able to turn quickly from one prestigious plan for a match to another. Also with a touch of cowardice, and the willingness to humiliate social inferiors.

A pack of Hufflepuffs: Mr. and Mrs. Weston, Harriet Smith, Miss Bates, Mr. Woodhouse.

Mrs. Elton: A muggle, for sure.