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Emma Chapter Thirty-Five Summary
After dinner, Emma notices with a bit of dismay that the conversation seems to break into two distinct parties. Even her best efforts as a hostess don’t detach Mrs. Elton from Jane’s side. Prodded by Mrs. Elton into talking about her future, Jane says that she won’t be returning to live with the Campbells once they return from Ireland. She’s determined to make her own living as a governess. We interrupt this program for a brief history lesson: Amazingly enough, nineteenth-century England isn’t exactly known for its gender equality. Unmarried gentlewomen had very few options. And those options weren’t exactly lucrative. If you happened to have wealthy relatives, you could sponge off of them for the rest of your life. If you didn’t have wealthy relatives, you could become a governess. This involved caring for whiny kids (and making pretty awful wages) for the rest of your life. (For a happier ending to this story, see Jane Eyre.) That’s it. Pretty short interruption, huh? That’s because there weren’t all that many options out there. OK, back to our party: Mrs. Elton, helpful as ever, barges into the conversation and demands that Jane allow her to find a family for Jane. Jane refuses. Mrs. Elton refuses to accept her refusal. (Again. And again. And again.) Mr. Weston enters with news: Frank writes that he will soon move with his aunt to a vacation spot about nine miles away from Highbury. It’s close enough to allow Frank to come over all the time. Emma’s thrilled. Mr. Knightley doesn’t look so pleased.
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