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Free Study Guide-Emma by Jane Austen-Free Online Chapter Summary Notes
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CHAPTER SUMMARIES WITH NOTES

CHAPTER 21

Summary

Knightley is happy to find that Emma has been a worthy hostess for Jane Fairfax. When Emma tells him about Jane's reserved nature, Knightley differs in his opinion. As they talk about the young woman, she appears in person with Miss Bates. They have come to Hartfield to thank Emma and Mr. Woodhouse for some pork they have been given.

Upon entering, the gossipy Miss Bates eagerly reveals that Elton is to marry Miss Hawkins, whom he has met in Bath. Knightley confirms the information to be true. Emma is amazed about Elton's stormy romance, for he has only been away from Highbury for four weeks. When Jane curiously inquires about Mr. Elton, Emma says that he is of medium height and is accepted in Highbury as a standard of perfection.

Miss Bates rambles on about Elton making a good neighbor; she also compares Mr. Dixon with John Knightley. Jane corrects her aunt and says Mr. Dixon is not handsome like John. Knightley then leaves with Jane and Miss Bates. Alone, Emma thinks of Harriet's grief when she learns about Elton's upcoming marriage.


There is a heavy shower of rain. When the rain stops, Harriet, all excited, comes to Hartfield. She tells Emma that on her way she happened to meet Martin and his sister; she is pleased that they have treated her with politeness and kindness. Emma is upset by Harriet's excitement over her chance meeting with Martin; she obviously is still in love with the young man. Emma then tells Harriet about Elton's marriage. Harriet is shocked at the news, but she soon recovers and expresses her curiosity about Miss Hawkins.

Notes

Knightley is pleased with the change in Emma's attitude towards Jane Fairfax, but in reality Emma is only hiding her feelings of jealousy. She tells Knightley that she finds Jane too reserved, and he disagrees. Their conversation is interrupted by the arrival of Miss Bates and Jane.

The news of Elton's hasty proposal to Miss Hawkins of Bath surprises Emma and convinces her that he is not really capable of loving anyone, for he cares too much about social position and fortune. Emma is concerned, however, about Harriet's emotional shock when she hears about Elton.

Emma is upset by Harriet's excitement on meeting Martin quite unexpectedly at Ford's. Emma hopes that such chance encounters between Harriet and Martin will not occur often, for she still does not believe he is a suitable husband for Harriet.

The character of Miss Bates shows Jane Austen's ability for realistic characterization. Her rambling thoughts are revealed in her talkativeness, creating humor.

CHAPTER 22

Summary

Elton returns to Highbury happy on having won a woman he considers to be superior to Emma. Miss Augusta Hawkins is the younger daughter of a deceased Bristol merchant. Since both of her parents are dead, she has a dowry of ten thousand pounds, which pleases Elton greatly. He plans to return to Bath soon to be married. Emma is sure that Miss Hawkins is not more beautiful than Harriet.

Emma feels sorry for Harriet, who is saddened about Elton's upcoming marriage. To help minimize Harriet's suffering, Emma drives her in her carriage to pay a courtesy call on the Martins. Emma drops Harriet at Abbey Mill and comes after her in a quarter of an hour.

Notes

Elton's quick proposal to Miss Hawkins shows that for him marriage is based on considerations other than love. This shows that his interest in Emma was clearly based on her fortune and social position. In fact, he is largely attracted to Miss Hawkins due to the size of her dowry. Miss Hawkins' family was from the merchant community, not the landed gentry. As a result, her life- style and social standards are sure to be different from those of the upper class in Highbury. Emma feels certain Miss Hawkins will be an "outsider" in Highbury society. Her imaginative fancies are beginning to run freely again.

Emma's interference in Harriet's personal matters is inexcusable. Even Emma realizes that she should not domineer over Harriet to such an extent as to determine the duration of time Harriet can spend with the Martins. But Emma is still convinced that Harriet belongs to a higher social class then the Martins. Her social snobbery is still firmly in place.

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