Calling All Matchmakers {Book Club}

Oh, Emma.

Anyone else find themselves equaling grinning over Emma’s antics and sighing with frustration over her meddling?

Let me officially welcome you to our March Book Club discussion! This month we are reading Jane Austen’s Emma.

First, for a bit of background. Jane Austen was born in December of 1775, and she started writing at a young age. Emma was published in 1815, following earlier works by Austen like Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice and Mansfield Park. Shortly after Emma’s publication, Austen’s health began to deteriorate, and she died in 1817.

 As we start this book and look at Chapters 1-14, we get introduced to a host of characters that are a part of Emma’s life. Here’s a quick glance at our main list of friends, with an added bonus: a guess at each character’s Enneagram type (thanks to my friend Kristin for helping me with these).

Emma: witty, smart, conversational, caring; our heroine loves to be involved in the lives of people around her, whether it is dropping in for a visit to someone who is sick or hurting, or investing in her friends (and their future marriages). I am thinking Miss Emma is a 2, the supportive advisor/helper.  

Mr. Woodhouse: Emma’s father is content to stay at home, and his anxieties are always at the forefront of his mind. The leftover wedding cake from Mr. and Mrs. Weston is a prime example—it was too rich for him and he found it hard to believe it could be agreeable for anyone else. I recognize that constant need to scan the horizon as a fellow Enneagram 6, the loyal guardian.

Mr. Knightley: kind, reserved, intellectual, he isn’t afraid to let Emma know when she strays too far from caring to interference. He views life much more objectively than Emma and is a good friend to both her and Mr. Woodhouse. What do you think? Type 5, the investigative thinker, or Type 1, the moral perfectionist?

Harriet Smith: Emma’s newest friend is understanding, peace-loving, and depends greatly on Emma for guidance and advice. Harriet strikes me as a Type 9, the peaceful mediator. She seems content to let others do the leading.

Mr. Elton: the local vicar; I haven’t decided if I like the man or not. He is an eager companion of the Woodhouses and Harriet, and so far seems to be going along with Emma’s matchmaking plans. Could he also be an easy-going 9? Or an I’m-up-for-anything 7?

What do you think? Who is your favorite character so far? Am I right in my Enneagram typing?

Emma believes she had a hand in bringing Mr. and Mrs. Weston together and she exerts the same influence over her new friend Harriet and the vicar, Mr. Elton. I’ve always loved the idea of introducing someone to their future spouse, or being an advocate in another’s story. I’m also just waiting right here for someone to do that for me (insert a silly grin, but also, quite seriously, I’m up for any introductions you might want to make).  I’m curious- did you have someone playing matchmaker in your own love story? Did it work? Share your story with us!

What do you think of Emma so far? Would you enjoy the social calls, society rules and parties of that day? Come share your thoughts in the comments.

Here’s the schedule for the rest of the book:

March 17th: Chapters 15-29

March 24th: Chapters 30-43

March 31st: Chapters 44-55

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Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

8 Comments

  1. Rachel Kahindi March 10, 2020

    As I was reading the part about Harriet’s picture, it was so familiar… I remembered hearing that the 90s movie Clueless is a retelling of Emma.

    My own story, we didn’t have a matchmaker exactly. An intentional matchmaker might have hurried my husband up a bit! He was so slow… One night, we were with a group of our friends, and we started taking silly staged pictures of everyone. I had the camera, and someone finally said that I had to be in a pic, and suggested my now husband pose as if he were proposing to me. From then on, my sister called him brother-in-law. He intended to never get married, and especially not to a American (he didn’t want to look like those guys who marry just to stay in the US). So maybe that night started changing his mind. It was still almost 2 years before he made his first move.

    1. Sarah Hilkemann March 11, 2020

      Love that story, Rachel! I’m glad you were so patient. 🙂 Sometimes I wish we could go back to the time of formal matchmaking- at least that would make my life easier. 😉

      I’m pretty sure I’ve seen Clueless but I didn’t remember it was a modern Emma re-telling! I’ll have to check that out. 🙂

  2. Rachel Kahindi March 10, 2020

    My picture didn’t upload…

    1. Rachel Kahindi March 10, 2020

      (Sorry. It was from Clueless. Cher taking a picture of Tai, and Elton is watching, saying “cool picture.”)

  3. Theresa March 12, 2020

    I totally think Emma is an 8! So far at least. She seems to me that she’s “helping” out of her own hopes of influence and …control? Anyway, so glad to be reading this classic!

    1. Sarah Hilkemann March 12, 2020

      Somehow I’ve never really gotten into the classics myself, so I’m glad for the excuse to read them in community! 🙂

      She could totally be an 8! It does seem like she wants to have an influence, especially as we see how she rules over Harriet (although in the most caring way). 🙂

    2. Michele March 15, 2020

      I would lean more towards an 8 or a 3- one of the aggressive numbers. Her concern with appearances and status strike me as 3ish. Maybe a 3 with a 2 wing? I’m afraid I’m still in that phase of enneagram learning where I do think about characters in books according to what type they may be! I hope I get over that soon, but glad to have friends doing the same thing here for now! 😉

  4. Phyllis March 15, 2020

    I haven’t read Emma since I was a teen, and I don’t remember much. I’m loving it!

    Has anyone seen the movie that came out recently? I am so not a movie/TV person, but I watched Call the Midwife way back when and decided that I like Miranda Hart. She may be the only actress whose name I actually know. 😛 So, I’m going to have to try to watch this version of Emma when I finish reading.

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