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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 23

Summary

When Emma calls for Harriet at the Abbey Farm, the excited girl tells Emma that she has visited with Martin's mother and two sisters. On the way home, Emma decides to stop at the Westons and is disappointed to find they are not home. As she turns to leave, the Westons arrive in their carriage. They inform Emma that Frank Churchill will be arriving the next day and staying for a fortnight. They assure Emma that they will bring Frank to Hartfield.

The next day Mr. Weston and Frank call at Woodhouse. Emma finds Frank to be a very good-looking gentleman of well-bred manners; she is also impressed by his lively spirit. He praises Mrs. Weston for her pretty looks and elegant manners. Emma immediately likes Frank and imaginatively concludes that Frank also has an interest in her. She barely notices that he plans to call on Jane Fairfax next since he already knows her.

Notes

Frank Churchill, who has stimulated Emma's imagination for some time, finally arrives in Highbury. The moment she meets Frank, Emma is attracted to him. She finds him handsome and full of sense and good manners. She is also certain that he is attracted to her since the Westons have encouraged their association. At the same time, she is naïve about Frank's desire to visit Jane Fairfax and does not associate that he comes to visit his parents immediately after Jane's arrival in Highbury.


Two weaknesses in the character of Emma come into the spotlight again in this chapter. Her vanity is seen in the way she continues to manipulate Harriet and in her judgement that the Martins are socially inferior. Her romantic fancy is seen when she believes that Frank is interested in her.

CHAPTER 24

Summary

The next morning Emma spies Frank Churchill coming into Hartfield arm-in-arm with his stepmother, Mrs. Weston. She is delighted to see them getting along so well. When Emma joins them, Frank expresses his desire to see everything in Highbury, including the house where his father had previously lived. When they come to the Crown Inn, where balls were once held by the Highbury gentry, Frank asks Emma to revive the good old days and arrange a ball.

From the Crown Inn, the trio comes to the Bates' house. Emma asks Frank about his visit there on the previous day. Frank tells Emma that he has found Miss Bates to be very talkative. Emma inquires about Jane, and Frank says that she is ill and pale. When Emma praises Jane for her soft and delicate skin, Frank says that he prefers a glowing, healthy complexion. When Emma asks him if he has met Jane often at Weymouth, he changes the subject to shopping at Ford's. When Emma repeats her question about Jane, Frank tells her that it is the woman's privilege to decide the depth of a relationship.

Emma complains that Jane is very reserved and has never spoken much about Frank. He then admits that he has seen Jane frequently at Weymouth since he knows the Campbells. When Emma asks Frank if he knows about Jane's situation in life, he again changes the subject and asks Emma if she has heard Jane playing piano. He states that the Dixons often ask Jane to play. Emma admits she has heard Jane at the piano and praises her musical skill. Frank then says that he loves music, but since he does not play, he is not a very good judge of anybody's performance.

Emma makes it clear to Frank that she and Jane are not good friends and blames it on the fact that Jane is so reserved. Frank agrees that a reserved person cannot be easily loved.

Notes

Jane Austen presents the character of Frank Churchill as Emma assesses him. She finds him a handsome young man with a pleasing disposition. He also seems indifferent to social distinctions, which bothers Emma and makes her wonder if he lacks refinement. She finds it amazing that he spent nearly an hour with the Bates in their small house. She also feels that Frank is anxious to marry for love, which pleases Emma.

What Emma does not realize is that Frank is cleverly playing on her emotions. He seems to have gathered immediately that Emma wants to be admired and flattered. He, therefore, praises her for having enriched the personality of her governess Miss Taylor, now his stepmother. He also compliments Emma by saying that she is a good judge of character. He flatters her further when he suggests that she arrange a ball for the Highbury society. He also makes a mental note of Emma's curiosity about Jane. She has been too hasty in confiding in Frank her dislike for Jane and her suspicions about Jane's relations with Mr. Dixon.

When Emma asks Frank direct questions about the nature of his acquaintance with Jane, he avoids answering her by changing the subject. At the same time, he deceives Emma by pretending to criticize Jane for her reserved nature.

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