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Emma is undoubtedly the most light-hearted book by Jane Austen. The humor mostly comes from the events and misfortune of characters from the matchmaking efforts of our heroine, Emma. Secret engagements, miscommunications, and heartbreaks occur between Emma’s hobby and her finding her own much happier ending.
See the fact file below for more information on the Emma or alternatively, you can download our 23-page Emma worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
JANE AUSTEN’S LIFE
- Jane Austen was an English novelist who was well known for her six novels, her wit, social observation, and insights about the lives of people in the 19th century.
- She grew up with a close-knit family where she got inspiration for her writing.
- She lived in Steventon, a small rural village, which inspired her for the settings and subject matter of her books.
- Her father also encouraged the love of learning in their household even to girls like her and her sister.
- She enjoyed the fruits of her writing as four of her novels were successful and gained good reviews
- She died on July 18, 1817, from Addison disease.
- Emma Woodhouse – a twenty-one-year-old woman, runs her father’s household after her sister Isabella gets married. Their mother died when Emma was young. Being handsome, clever, and rich gives her a reason to act like the queen of society in Highbury.
- Mr. George Knightley – Emma’s neighbor and long time friend. His brother is married to Emma’s sister. He knows Emma since her infancy.
- Harriet Smith – Emma’s friend from boarding school whom she is determined to find a match. She was left in the boarding school since she was young, and nobody knows her circumstances.
- Mr. Frank Churchill – son of Mr. Weston, who Emma’s governess married. He was adopted by their much wealthier relatives and is set to inherit a vast fortune from them.
- Jane Fairfax – Emma’s childhood rival, although a one-sided rivalry on Emma’s side. She is mild-mannered and reserved, which Emma finds dull. She was orphaned at three years old and adopted at eight to receive a better education. Ms. Bates was so proud of her accomplishments. She always mentioned Jane’s letters to Emma and to anybody who would listen.
- Mr. Elton – the Highbury vicar who pursues Emma. Emma, on the other hand, only thinks of him as a suitable match for Harriet.
- Mrs. Weston – Emma’s former governess who marries Mr. Weston
Ms. Bates – a talkative family friend of the Woodhouses who loves to brag about her niece, Jane Fairfax. She is also a poor spinster who depends on her neighbors to survive.
- Mr. Woodhouse – elderly father of Emma, who grows quite dependent on her. Emma and Knightley remain at Hartfield as long as he lives after they get married.
- Mr. Robert Martin – an admirer of Harriet, who Emma considers as too lowly for Harriet. His family rents a farm from Mr. Knightley, which he manages. Emma subtly encourages Harriet to refuse his first proposal.
- Mrs. Augusta Elton – wife of Mr. Elton, who he marries after Emma refuses him.
- Mr. Dixon – he was suspected of having a romantic relationship with Jane Fairfax before he got married.
- Emma prides herself as an independent woman in no need for romance. She is satisfied tending the social and household affairs of Harfield and happy to be a wealthy spinster with matchmaking hobbies.
- After her successful matchmaking mission for her governess and Mr. Weston, who are getting married at the beginning of the book, her next quest is to find her new friend, Harriet, a perfect match.
- Harriet was placed by her father in a local boarding school governed by Mrs. Goddard. When the latter brought her to Hartfield for tea, Emma was quite taken by her beauty and sweet nature. She takes her under her wing.
- Emma introduces Harriet to their local vicar, Mr. Elton. Encouraged by his polite interaction with both her and Harriet, Emma resolves that Mr. Elton is the perfect match for Harriet.
- She invites Mr. Elton to Hartfield, where the latter praises Emma’s painting of Harriet, but Emma thinks he is complimenting Harriet’s beauty.
- She feeds Harriet with delusions about Mr. Elton’s affection. She makes Harriet forget about her feelings for Robert Martin, her friend, who had shown an interest in her.
- Mr. Knightley silently watches Emma’s charade at first, but when Mr. Martin proposes to Harriet, and she refuses because of Emma’s encouragement, he scolds her. He tries to convince Emma that Mr. Martin is the best match for her. Emma still does not listen.
- It turns out that Mr. Elton is interested in Emma and not Harriet. He is astonished that Emma would think of a match for him way below his station. Mr. Elton leaves for Bath and gets married there immediately. Harriet is broken-hearted.
- Jane Fairfax also arrives in Highbury to Ms. Bates’ delight, who always praised Jane in front of Emma. Everybody expects Emma and Jane to be friends, but Emma doesn’t like her. The narrator mentions that Emma is envious of Jane.
- Mr. Weston son’s finally appears in Highbury. His presence has been long-awaited since the wedding.
- Emma and Frank get acquainted immediately. She is quite flattered by the attention Frank gives her. She decides that he is a perfect match for Harriet.
- Mr. Knightley is quite suspicious of Mr. Churchill citing an incident about the latter’s departure to London to get his hair cut.
- At a ball, a rumor circulates about a grand gift, a pianoforte, Jane Fairfax received without knowing who sent it.
- Mr. Weston speculates that it was Mr. Knightley. Mrs. Weston thinks that Mr. Knightley and Jane would be a good match. Frank Churchill believes that it was Mr. Dixon.
- When the dance starts, Harriet remains seated as Mr. Elton refuses to dance with her. Emma is relieved when she sees Mr. Knightley dancing with Harriet, even though he never dances. She is grateful to him for saving her friend from embarrassment.
- The next day, Frank Churchill saves Harriet from the Gypsies. When she gets to Hartfield, she confesses to Emma that she again is in love. Emma thinks it is with Frank Churchill.
- Mr. Knightley begins to suspect something is going on between Frank and Jane. He warns Emma but she laughs and dismisses it.
- During one of their outings at Box Hill, Emma continuously flirts with Frank. She accidentally insults Ms. Bates which hurts the spinster deeply. She tells Mr. Knightley that she will try to hold her tongue. Mr. Knightley reprimands Emma, which causes her to cry.
- Emma receives news that Frank went home because his aunt died. She also learns that Jane and Frank were secretly engaged.
- They kept it a secret because his aunt was against it and they were engaged before they came to Highbury.
- Emma confides the news to Harriet expecting an outburst of a love lost. She is surprised to know that her affection was addressed to Mr. Knightley and not Frank. Emma tells her that she might be mistaken about her feelings.
- Harriet insinuates that Emma also has feelings for Mr. Knightley, which she resisted. She later realizes that Harriet is right.
- Mr. Knightley confesses his feelings to Emma, and she reciprocates.
- Despite this happy union, she is concerned that she might hurt her friend’s feelings.
- Harriet does not go back to Hartfield. Emma calls on Jane, and they clear any untoward feelings to each other. Emma is glad to know that she and Frank will wed in three months.
- Mr. Knightley informs Emma that Mr. Martin proposed again, and Harriet accepted. Emma is surprised but very relieved.
- After everything is settled, Emma and Mr. Knightley finally wed.
THEMES IN EMMA
- As in all of Jane Austen’s novels, marriage is one of the motivations of most decisions of her heroines. In this book, the heroine has this motivation but not for herself (at least for the most part).
- Emma is not a typical Jane Austen heroine. She does not believe in marriage because, for her, the reason women get married is to have money and a house, both of which she has.
- Other women around her are not as lucky. Ms. Bates, who Emma looks down to, is a poor spinster.
- Jane Fairfax needs to go through heartaches and secret engagements to marry Frank Churchill. Harriet, who Mr. Knightley described, does not have any prospects and is expected to accept Robert Martin as he is above her situation.
- Still, marriage serves as a happy ending in this novel as in all of Austen’s books as well.
- SOCIAL STATUS
- Social status is mentioned almost all the time courtship is mentioned.
- It is highlighted in Harriet’s situation, as no one knows where she came from and what her claims are. Only Robert Martin can be considered a good match for her, not only because they love each other, but because she has nothing to offer.
- Jane Fairfax, as an orphan, also has fewer claims than Harriet. The difference is Jane had a good education and is considered an accomplished young woman. But because of her status, she is doomed to be a governess to provide for herself. To prevent this, she needs to swallow her pride and accepts whatever Frank Churchill can offer her.
- Ms. Bates’ social status is much worse as she is not married and poor.
- She is dependent on her neighbor’s generosity to live. As she grows older, her situation gets worse.
- Emma thinks of Robert Martin as someone below Harriet’s station.
- Her prejudice is based on the social standing of his family and not of his personality.
- Social status made it difficult, especially for women, to live the way they want or to be given much better choices.
- Emma never entertains the concept of romantic love for herself. She is a breath of fresh air in this instance. But no one is immune to love, especially if you are handsome, clever, and rich.
- Love is the only reason why the characters in this novel endure their difficulties. Jane Fairfax was in love with Frank Churchill so she endured witnessing Emma and Frank flirting in front of her.
- Robert Martin, despite Harriet’s first refusal of him, still manages to be cordial to her. He even asks a second time, and thankfully, Harriet finally accepts.
- It is like a curtain is lifted from Emma’s eyes when she realizes that she is in love with Mr. Knightley. She finally lets go of her mission for Harriet. She does this to experience love of her own.
- SOCIAL CONDUCT
- It has been said that Emma is unlike most of Austen’s heroines. She is different not only in her circumstances but also in her attitude. She acts like a spoiled girl sometimes.
- Her treatment of Miss Bates is unforgivable for many. She knows of the poor woman’s status, and makes it worse. She realizes and makes amends. But it is doubtful that she would have if Mr. Knightley had not reprimanded her.
- Mr. Elton, Highbury’s vicar, forget how to be a gentleman with Harriet. Granted that he is unaware how Emma fed her of delusions that he is interested in her, his comment about her station when he proposes to Emma still rings in the ears of the reader. It can be easily taken as his reason for refusing to ask her to dance.
- Mr. Knghtley is Harriet’s knight in shining armor that evening.
- Considering that he never dances, he still dances with her to save her from embarrassment.
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the Emma across 23 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Emma worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Emma which is undoubtedly the most light-hearted book by Jane Austen. The humor mostly comes from the events and misfortune of characters from the matchmaking efforts of our heroine, Emma. Secret engagements, miscommunications, and heartbreaks occur between Emma’s hobby and her finding her own much happier ending.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Emma Facts
- Austen’s Inspirations
- The Secret Engagement
- Emma’s Heroes
- Emma’s Offerings
- Jane Fairfax
- Austen’s Wit and Wisdom
- Playing Cupid
- Introducing Emma
- Emma’ s Best Friend
- The Most Amusing Part
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Use With Any Curriculum
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