Key Scenes

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Key Scenes

One of the signs that Emma is the last of Austen's mature novels, which she was able to edit, is that it is brilliantly structured.

Have you noticed that the events in the novel take place over one year? The emotional climaxes, where Emma is shocked by Mr Elton's unwanted proposal and where she cries after Mr Knightley scolds her for cruel behaviour at Box Hill, are separated by six months. The first takes place at Christmas, the second in June. The passing seasons give us a sense of Emma's developing maturity. During one year, from October to October, she passes from being convinced that she won't ever marry, to being ready to marry Mr Knightley.

Key scenes provide drama and move the action of the plot forward.

Here are some examples:

Key scenes