“We’ve decided to be just like Emma when we grow up
“We’ve decided to be just like Emma when we grow up.” said her young, innocent daughter Dorian at the beginning of the short story “Emma” by Carolyn Cole. However, by the ending she and her best friend have decided that when it’s their turn to play at the game of life they would play much smarter. Emma is the protagonist as well as a static character who is highly admired by her daughter and best friend but through indirect characterisation the author reveals mannerisms about Emma that are less than admirable.
Despite seeming to be not enough for her husband Emma is extremely gorgeous. When comparing the antagonist also known as the, ‘lady at the train station’ to Emma the children describe, “She’s not tall like Emma. She doesn’t have pretty hair…pretty white teeth…not even a pretty smile…can’t even walk pretty like Emma.” She also has a good fashion sense and likes pretty dresses which influences Dorian’s style. “We’ll let them dress up in our pretty red dresses and long white beads.” she stated when saying exactly how she and Maria will be just like Emma when they grow up. Not all of Emma’s qualities are as pretty as she is, though, she is a giver and goes above and beyond for the people in her life. Sadly they all exploit this trait. She gives her husband, Jack, unconditional love and in return he is unfaithful to her.
One of her less than admirable characteristics is her immature and child-like behaviour. This is what ultimately resulted in her death. Dorian is mentioned as spoilt in the story which is true as Emma is very lenient with her and example of this is seen when she lets Dorian convince her to let her wear the ribbons she had bought for school at the diner. She also plays cards and gambles with Dorian. Her lack of discipline with Dorian is caused by her lack of maturity, seen through her dependency on Jack as Dorian points out “Emma threw her cards on the table and ran…she was so happy to see him. She acted like a puppy licking and kissing his face.”
Her immaturity is also shown through the way she continuously ran from her problems and pretended they did not exist. Everyone knew about her husband’s infidelity so it was obvious she was feigning ignorance in believing he was the only woman she loved. Even when Ruby brought it to her attention at the diner, despite the crude way she did it, Emma still found ways to justify her husband’s actions. In the ending when she had to face the truth after seeing her husband with the lady at the train station she ran and ran into her death. She was not mature enough to have the adequate coping skills necessary to deal with the problem and hence made an impetuous decision.
In the ending Emma’s immaturity and thoughtless action had a great negative impact on the two people who admired and loved her the most as Miss Robinson and jack sent Dorian and Maria to a boarding school.