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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 44

Summary

Emma is miserable throughout the evening after her return from Box Hill. She decides to repent for her contemptible behavior towards Miss Bates by visiting her the next day. When she calls at the Bates house the next morning, there is a bit of confusion. Jane escapes into another room and appears to be ill. When Emma asks Miss Bates about Jane's health, she is told that Jane has been writing long letters to Colonel Campbell and Mrs. Dixon and has a severe headache. Miss Bates then tells Emma to forgive Jane for not coming out to greet her; she admits that Emma's visit has taken them both by surprise. Emma realizes that Jane is upset because her feelings were hurt when Emma linked up her name with Mr. Dixon. When Emma expresses her concern about Jane, Miss Bates says that she will be fine. She then tells Emma that her niece has accepted a position as a governess to the three children of Mrs. Smallridge, an acquaintance of Mrs. Elton's sister. She will be leaving for her job within a fortnight. Emma sympathizes with Jane's situation, for she knows that life will be a struggle for her. She also realizes that Jane does not really want to be a governess.

Miss Bates then talks about the Box Hill picnic, which she says nobody had enjoyed. She, however, feels flattered that her kind friends include her in such parties. She also talks about the new piano. She says that Jane does not know who sent it and will return it after Colonel Campbell returns to London. The mention of the piano upsets Emma, so she expresses her heartfelt good wishes and leaves.


Notes

In this chapter, Emma proves that her tears of repentance are truly symbols of her self-realization. When she returns home after the picnic, she feels miserable about her contemptible behavior and decides to call upon Miss Bates the next morning. She has really listened to Knightley's advice and is trying to turn away from her snobbish, domineering behavior. As a result, the reader is made to sympathize with Emma.

When she calls at the Bates home, Emma sees Jane and her aunt escape into another room, as if they were hiding and trying not to face her. Miss Bates soon comes out to explain that her niece has a horrible headache. She also admits that both of them are surprised that Emma has come to call. Emma realizes how much she has hurt the feelings of these two women.

Miss Bates tells Emma that Jane has accepted a job as a governess, a position she does not want and has been trying to avoid. Her plans are to leave Highbury for the job within the week. Emma feels sorry that Jane is forced into being a governess and will have to struggle in life. The reader is left to wonder why Jane has changed her mind about being a governess and why she is in such a hurry to start the position.

CHAPTER 45

Summary

When Emma returns to Hartfield, she learns that Knightley is waiting for her in the drawing room. He informs her that he is going to London for two days and asks if she has anything to send to Isabella. Emma feels that Knightley has not yet forgiven her. Then Mr. Woodhouse refers to Emma's visit to Miss Bates, praising Emma for her concern. Emma is thankful that Knightley responds favorably to her visit. He takes Emma's hand and presses it; she thinks he is almost on the point of kissing her hand, but soon lets it go. Knightley then leaves before she can tell him about Jane; but Emma is delighted that she seems to be forgiven by Knightley.

The next day, news comes from Richmond about the death of Mrs. Churchill. Although everyone in Highbury is sorry and sympathizes with Mr. Churchill, Emma thinks that Frank is now free to increase his attentions to Harriet. After the funeral, however, Frank does not return to Highbury, but goes with his uncle to visit a friend in Klindsor.

Emma invites Jane to spend a day at Hartfield, but she declines. Then Emma learns from Dr. Perry that Jane's health continues to be a concern and that she needs fresh air. Emma writes a note to Jane and offers to call for her in the carriage at any convenient hour. She mentions that Dr. Perry has advised such outings. Jane thanks Emma for her kindness, but again refuses her. Emma then drives the carriage to the Bates house to persuade Jane to come out. Emma wants to see Jane personally, but Miss Bates tells Emma that Jane is determined not to meet her, although she has visited with Mrs. Cole, Mrs. Elton, and Mrs. Perry. Emma feels frustrated and leaves for home.

Emma worries about Jane's diet. After returning home, she sends Jane some arrowroot of superior quality. It is returned within half an hour with a note from Miss Bates. Jane has instructed her aunt to return the arrowroot and say that she needs nothing. Later, Emma feels humiliated by Jane's refusal, but she is contented with the feeling that her intentions are good. She thinks that if Knightley looked into her heart, he would find nothing to criticize.

Notes

This chapter is further proof that Emma has changed. She is now full of humane consideration for Jane's health. Emma makes sincere efforts to be friendly with her and help her, but Jane, feeling snubbed and hurt, rejects all of her efforts. Because of the change in her, Emma does not feel angry with Jane, even when she learns that Jane had met with Mrs. Elton, Mrs. Cole, and Mrs. Perry and even is seen in the afternoon wandering about the meadows. Emma is proud that she has tried her hardest with Jane. Knightley, who stops just short of kissing her hand, gives Emma proof of what he thinks of the change in her; she is delighted to be back in his good graces. She also feels that if Knightley looked into her heart, he would find no faults. Although Emma has still not acknowledged it, the reader is aware that she is falling in love with Knightley.

It is important to notice that there are several unexplained developments in this chapter. Knightley is going to London for two days, but there is no explanation as to why. Jane's health is deteriorating, and there is no explanation for that either. The reader is left to wonder if Jane is under strain because of accepting the job as a governess; or perhaps there is another reason for her ill health, related to Frank.

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