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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 52

Summary

When Harriet writes to Emma about having a toothache, Emma arranges with Isabella to invite Harriet to London, where she can consult a dentist. Emma lends her own carriage for the journey. Emma, feeling relieved that Harriet is out of town, visits Jane to congratulate her on her future marriage. Emma is happy to be received by Jane, who is full of warmth and goodwill.

Emma hears the voice of Mrs. Elton talking to Mrs. Bates. She is in high spirits, for she thinks that she alone knows about Jane's secret engagement. Mrs. Elton stops reading from Mrs. Smallridge's letter when she sees Emma. Mrs. Smallridge has written to express her resentment over Jane's refusal of the governess position. Mrs. Elton, in an effort to attract attention away from the letter, comments on Jane's improved health. She also proposes another party at Box Hill, to be arranged by she and Jane since the first one arranged by Emma had not been a success. Before Emma can reply, Miss Bates enters and thanks Emma for her kindness.

Mrs. Elton reveals that her husband is soon to join her. When he comes in, he complains that he was unable to meet with Knightley, who was away from Donwell. Emma realizes that Knightley must be at Hartfield waiting for her. She, therefore, gets up and takes her leave. Jane walks Emma to the door. She tells her that she and Frank will marry after an appropriate period of mourning and settle at Enscombe. She then apologizes for her previous rudeness; Emma tells Jane there is no reason to apologize.


Notes

Emma, in a mature way, continues to face and solve her problems. Harriet is sent to London to stay with Isabella and consult a dentist. Emma successfully renews her efforts to be friendly with Jane; when Jane tries to apologize, Emma genuinely tells her there is no reason to do so. Emma, in control of her emotions, is even able to tolerate Mrs. Elton's airs of self-importance and malicious reference to the Box Hill Party. Even Mrs. Elton's pretense of being intimate with Jane and her aunts does not annoy Emma.

It is important to notice the improved health of Jane. Now that she no longer has to hide the secret of her engagement and does not feel threatened by Emma, she is again lively, happy, and healthy. She is also openly warm to Jane, openly talking about her upcoming marriage.

CHAPTER 53

Summary

To the great delight of Mrs. Weston, she delivers a baby girl. Knightley and Emma talk about Mrs. Weston being a good mother since she has been a successful governess. Emma reminds Knightley how he had criticized Mrs. Weston for showing too much affection for Emma when she was Emma's governess. Knightley praises Emma for her understanding and acceptance of his criticism. Feeling close to her, Knightley quizzes Emma about when she will begin to call him George. Being proper, Emma says only after their marriage.

Isabella writes that Harriet has seen a dentist and is doing fine. Her plans are to return to Highbury in August, arriving with Isabella's husband John. The letter also states that Knightley has told John, his brother, about his engagement to Emma. John definitely approves of the match. Now Emma and Knightley are anxious to break the news to Mr. Woodhouse, but are afraid of his reactions. Finally one day Emma asks her father if he would agree to her marrying Knightley. Mr. Woodhouse, obviously shocked over her words, reminds Emma of her decision not to marry. Emma tells him that Knightley can keep him company and help him with business matters and family problems. Knightley enters to help Emma in convincing Mr. Woodhouse that their marriage is in the interests of all.

The next person whom Emma tells about her engagement is Mrs. Weston, who is delighted over the news. Emma's news is quickly spread to Jane and the gossipy Miss Bates. Soon everyone in Highbury knows about the engagement. Everyone is delighted for the happy couple, except for the Eltons. Mrs. Elton feels that Knightley has made a wrong choice and deprived the Eltons of free social relations with Donwell. She is also shocked at Mr. Knightley's decision to move to Hartfield after marriage. Not realizing the changes that Emma has wrought in herself, Mr. Elton hopes that Emma's pride will now be contained by Knightley.

Notes

According to Jane Austen, love arising out of good sense, mutual understanding, and compatibility, ensures happiness in married life. As a result, Emma and Knightley should be very happy together. Both of them, capable of good reasoning, are well equipped intellectually. They know each other very well and have a deep respect for one another; they also have the same background, being part of the landed gentry. Both have also proven their maturity. Now that Emma has given up her self-deluding, vain ways, she displays the common sense and spirit that Knightley has always sought in a woman. In Austen's opinion, Emma and Knightley are an ideal pair. They are also a total contrast to the vulgar Eltons and the mismatched Jane and Frank. The Eltons have married out of convenience rather than of love and mutual respect, while Jane and Frank suffer from deep differences in character.

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