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Taken in the context of its time, the novel 'Emma' is a delightfully fun and witty examination of the societal constraints and mores of the period in which it takes place. Plot is not essential here, and there really isn't a great deal of it. It's the characters who count, and Emma is certainly the most captivating of the lot. She bears some resemblance to the major female leads of other Jane Austen novels, but rather lacks the spirited, rebelliousness of Elizabeth Benett (of 'Pride and Predjudice').