So before I write a post delving into my true thoughts on Mr. Knightley, I thought it would be helpful for those of you who are unfamiliar with the story of Emma, for me to give you a short summary.
However, Emma comes across very soap-opera-esque and a short summary is difficult.
So instead, here are several different summaries of Emma depending on the type of information you feel is important.
The One Sentence Summary
Emma Woodhouse, a conniving matchmaker, learns the consequences of meddling in others lives and eventually finds love of her own.
The New Title Summary
How Emma Woodhouse Ruined and Offended Many People’s Lives and Still Got Married.
The Who Likes Who Summary: Told in the Language of Junior High Girl’s because Drama.
Backstory: Emma has a history of being a successful match maker. She takes credit for setting up her sister with John Knighley and hers nurse Ms. Taylor with Mr. Weston.
Emma then decides to set up her friend Harriet, who is the natural daughter of somebody with Mr. Elton, a young man living alone without liking it.
This sets off a chain reaction of events which I believe is best told in the junior high language of who likes who because drama.
- Mr. Martin likes Harriet but since he’s just a farmer, Harriet decides to like Mr. Elton instead.
- Mr. Knightley thinks Emma is wrong for interfering and that Harriet should be with Mr. Martin. Emma disagrees.
- Mr. Elton reveals that he likes EMMA and not Harriet. Thus ruining Emma’s schemes.
- Frank Churchill shows up and begins flirting with Emma.
- Everyone starts to think that Mr. Knightley likes Jane Fairfax because she’s perfect but Emma doesn’t think so because who’d like someone as perfect as Jane Fairfax?
- Mr. Elton gets married to this woman who is super annoying and mean.
- At the dance, no one will dance with Harriet and Mr. Elton scorns her.
- Mr. Knightley dances with Harriet making Emma and Harriet and everyone in the room feel a lot better.
- Emma realizes she doesn’t like Frank even though she thought she did. They’re just friends.
- Frank Churchill saves Harriet from gypsies and Emma now thinks that Harriet likes Frank because who wouldn’t like a guy who saved you from gypsies?
- It turns out that Frank has been engaged to Jane Fairfax all this time…random.
- Harriet tells Emma that she likes Mr. Knightley, not Frank Churchill, which mortifies Emma.
- Emma realizes that the reason she doesn’t want Harriet with Mr. Knightley is because SHE wants to be with Mr. Knightley.
- Harriet marries Robert Martin, who she originally liked in the first place.
- Emma marries Mr. Knightley.
The Academic Summary:
Yeah that’s right. Read the book!