by Jane Austen
Emma Chapter Twenty Summary
- Our narrator gives us all the dirt on Jane Fairfax.
- Her parents died when she was a baby, but a friend of her father’s (Capt. Campbell) offered to raise her. He’s got a daughter that’s Jane’s age.
- Jane is, apparently, perfect. (Can you see why Emma hates her now?)
- She’s prettier, smarter, and all-around better than her friend Miss Campbell.
- For some reason, however, Miss Campbell and Jane love each other like sisters.
- Of course, as you’ve probably figured out by now, in this novel pretty girls don’t get too far on their looks alone.
- Jane’s poor. Miss Campbell is rich. Miss Campbell gets engaged; Jane has to find a job as a governess.
- The Campbells love Jane like a daughter, but they can’t give her any of their money.
- Why not?
- This means that Jane has to go out into the wide, wide world.
- The Campbells put it off as long as possible, but Jane decides that, once she turns 21, she’s cutting the cord.
- Fortunately, right after she turns 21, she gets sick.
- And that brings us up to speed with Jane. Now back to Emma:
- Emma sort of hates Jane (in the sense that she's slightly envious).
- In other words, Emma’s pretty smart – she knows that Jane is more accomplished than she is.
- To make matters worse, Mr. Knightley constantly tells Emma that Jane is better than she is. Even if you didn’t hate Jane before, wouldn’t you hate her now?
- Despite her past history, Emma decides to start afresh.
- Emma visits Jane and is pleasantly surprised at how pretty and elegant she is (congratulating herself, of course, about how open-minded she’s being for coming to this conclusion).
- Before long, however, things are back to normal.
- It starts when Jane comes to Hartfield with her aunts.
- The combination of Miss Bates’ chatter and Jane’s refusal to dish on Frank Churchill (whom she met in Weymouth) makes Emma think Jane insufferable.
- And unbearable. And lots of other nasty words we won’t mention here.
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