manners which had been formed in a bad school,

Category: Education | Type: Discussion | Title: Emma (in Context) | Author: Jane Austen | Vol: Volume II | Ch: Chapter XIV

Mrs. Elton's parents being commercial parvenus and the social circle in which they moved resembling them, her acquisition of more refined manners hinges on the school to which she was sent.

There were many private boarding schools for girls, but few taught much of any substance and even fewer could provide the environment to teach something so intangible as natural manners and good judgment. How much better served she'd been, we're tacitly reminded, had she attended a place like Mrs. Goddards'. All the same, we have to be grateful to her parents' misdirected ambitions for their daughter. She is one of Austen's great comic creations.

 

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