The Presentation of the Gentleman in Jane Austen's Novel Emma (1816)

  •  Ala Eddin Sadeq    


The aim of this study is to trace the origin of the concept of "gentility" and its development over the course of time. The meaning of the word has shifted slightly since its original use in the classification system. During the Industrial Revolution, the meaning of the word "gentleman" expanded to include the merchants, clergy, army officers, and parliamentary members. The mercantile elites were referred as gentlemen due to the wealth and influence that they had amassed. The text selected for analysis is Jane Austen’s Emma (1816), which highlights the themes of social classes. The novel presents characters that belong to different classes, and sheds light on ideas such as the superiority of the upper-class over the middle and low-class people, and the attempts that people make to climb to higher classes in the society.

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