Short summary - Emma - Jane Austen

British literature summaries - 2020

Short summary - Emma
Jane Austen


The novel is dedicated to a young woman who enthusiastically wraps her acquaintances and neighbors.

Emma Woodhouse, a young girl of twenty, lives with her father in Highbury, a small village near London. The Wodehouse is the first family in the village. The affair begins immediately after Emma arranged the marriage of her pupil Miss Taylor to become Mrs. Weston and rise in society.

After Emma succeeds, she realizes that this is her vocation. In order not to be bored, she is preparing a new marriage. Her next “victim” is Harriet Smith, a young girl with whom she makes friends and is going to marry the village priest Mr. Elton. To do this, she uses all means, although the matchmaker, Mr. Knightley, is trying to dissuade her from this venture.

Mr. Elton had long ago found himself a “lady of the heart,” and when they ride together in the carriage, he makes Emma an offer. Emma is shocked and refuses him. She learns that Mr. Elton was never interested in Harriet and all his compliments were about Emma. She vows herself to remain a matchmaker. The girl is in a delicate situation and cannot explain to Harriet such a turn of events. Mr. Elton himself immediately leaves for Bath to return as a married man after some time. The newly-minted Mrs. Elton is an educated young woman, she has a high opinion of herself, but in reality she has a lot of talents.

Soon, two new characters appear: Miss Jane Fairfax, whom Emma is a little jealous of, since Jane is very talented and sweet. In addition, Mr. Weston's son, Mr. Frank Churchill, comes to visit, who, after the death of his mother, was brought up by his uncle and is going to inherit his fortune. It was he who was chosen as husbands for Emma (in secret from her), Mr. Weston and his wife. It seems that everything is going according to plan, since Frank is frankly dragging herself around Emma, Emma herself has long ago decided not to get married, to always be with her father.

A little later, at one of the balls, the Elton couple rudely communicate with Harriet in front of all the guests, and Mr. Elton refuses to dance with her. Mr. Knightley, a true gentleman, invites Harriet to a dance. Emma is subdued by his behavior, and their friendship is further strengthened.

The next day, Emma and Harriet meet to discuss the situation at the ball. The robbers attack Harriet during the walk, Mr. Churchill comes to the rescue and saves her.

A little later, a conversation occurs between Harriet and Emma. It seems to Emma that Harriet is in love with Mr. Churchill, because he saved her life (Harriet told Emma about this story). Emma supports her in love, not wanting to know the name of the savior, and adds that she will not interfere in anything else.

It turns out a little later that Frank has been in love with Jane Fairfax for several months. From further conversations with Harriet, Emma learns that she is in love with Mr. Knightley. Suddenly, Emma realizes that her own heart also favors Mr. Knightley.

The following days are endless for Emma, because Mr. Knightley left a few days before to discuss something important with his brother, who lives in London and is married to Emma's sister. Soon he learns from a letter from Mr. Weston about the secret engagement of Mr. Frank Churchill and Miss Fairfax. Mr. Knightley, who thought Emma was in love with Frank, returned immediately to console her. He learns that Emma only looked at Frank, but was never in love with him.

Soon, everything is resolved: Garriet marries Mr. Martin, Frank marries Miss Fairfax, and Emma finds her happiness with Mr. Natley. They decide to move to her house so that her father does not feel alone.