It's been nearly 2 1/2 months since some amazing Internet serendipity first prompted me to take an interest in the ABC show Once Upon A Time (OUAT), because of the mysterious character name "August Wayne Booth" appearing, in slightly different form, in a blog post of mine about Jane Austen's greatest novel, _Emma_:
Since February 20, I have faithfully watched every one of the episodes of OUAT, and have seen, especially during the past few weeks, a ratcheting up of the role of August Wayne Booth, as we have finally learned that he is (apparently) Pinocchio from the Fairy World, trying to convince Emma Swan to believe that the Fairy World exists.
But I will confess that I've been surprised that the many hints I discerned in the episodes from the first half of the season, that, to my eyes, pointed to Jane Austen's novels, most of all _Emma_....
....have not been carried further forward in the last half dozen episodes, especially the
two most recent episodes which have been August-intensive, with ONE intriguing exception:
It occurred to me as I watched the last episode, in which we learn that Gepetto is the craftsman who constructed, from the magic tree, the "spaceship" that carried baby Emma, along with Pinocchio, to the forest outside Storybrooke 28 years ago, that we could describe the container which carries Emma and Pinocchio as a "wood house". Is this an intentional wink at Emma Woodhouse on the part of the writers of OUAT? I believe it is!
But I expect more to come, because the central parallel to Austen remains as strong as ever, i.e., everything that happens in Austen's _Emma_ is filtered through the eyes of the clueless heroine, Emma Woodhouse, and therefore what SHE believes she sees is what most readers of the novel believe is real, even though, when the novel is read against the grain, as I am the first to do, we find an alternative reality of which Emma does not have any conscious awareness. But...that alternative reality is just at the edge of Emma Woodhouse's consciousness, she keeps seeing pieces of it but she is so set in her worldview that she is blinded even to what is in front of her nose.
And isn't Emma Swan so much like Emma Woodhouse in this one crucial way? What does August Wayne Booth have to do to convince her to believe? That is the central question of OUAT at this moment. And I remain firm in my expectation that somehow, some way, in the final episode of this first season coming up, there will be SOMETHING that points more definitively to Jane Austen's Emma Woodhouse, and connects her to Emma Swan.
We shall see next Sunday!
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A Jane Austen Christmas by Rachel Dodge
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