Mr. John Knightley is Mr. Knightley’s younger brother (we can tell because only the eldest son gets exclusive use of the Knightley last name). It’s a bit strange, we know, but that’s how nineteenth-century England rolls. He’s got all of the Knightley smarts, but somehow he missed the sociable gene. Mr. Knightley (that’s Mr. John’s brother, remember?) exudes confidence and grace; Mr. John Knightley makes sure that everyone knows how much he’d rather be at home.
Mr. John may seem like a bit of a jerk, but he’s actually just in love with his wife and kids. He can’t think of anything better than a quiet night at home with his family – and he just can’t understand why other people would want to waste time at silly things like dinner parties and balls. He’s not a mean person, just a family man. When other folks don’t seem stuck-up or idiotic, however, Mr. John Knightley can be surprisingly pleasant.
For a man who hates society, however, Mr. John Knightley’s got a great social radar. After all, he notices that Mr. Elton has eyes only for Emma far before Emma figures it out for herself. He also has a pretty clear sense that Emma is getting a really good deal when she marries Mr. Knightley. Luckily, Emma happens to agree.