In Jane Austen's novel Emma, how does the character Miss Bates relate to the protagonist Emma?

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  • aida
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago
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    Mrs. Bates is the widow of a former vicar of Emma's church, Miss Bates is their daughter, and Jane Fairfax is the daughter of another daughter and is the darling of her grandmother and her aunt. Mr. Knightley doesn't like the idea of Emma's befriending Harriet when Jane would be a more suitable friend for her.

    However, the most important way in which Miss Bates relates to Emma is that Emma says something unkind to Miss Bates on the excursion to Box Hill, and Mr. Knightley tells Emma what he thinks. Specifically, someone (Frank Churchill, I think) proposes a game in which each person must say (unsure of the numbers now) one clever thing or three foolish ones, and Emma replies that Miss Bates should have no trouble thinking of three foolish things to say.. (You'd better check that passage to see exactly how the conversation goes, but that's the gist of it.) Afterward, when they're alone, Mr. Knightley sternly takes Emma to task, and as a result she goes to call on the Bateses the next day. She doesn't actually apologize, but evidently they recognize the gesture as a conciliatory one or are simply too kindhearted to remember it. When Mr. Knightley hears about the visit a little later, he's very pleased--maybe a little too much so for someone who's just an impartial third party. ; ) So maybe Miss Bates is a means for bringing out a little more clearly the fact that Mr. Knightley's interest in Emma is more than that of an old friend whose brother has married her sister.

    Source(s): Retired English professor--taught Emma more than once.
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