Study Guide

Emma Chapter Eighteen

By Jane Austen

Chapter Eighteen

  • Moving on…
  • Frank Churchill still hasn’t shown up in Highbury.
  • Luckily, this means that Emma can fantasize about him some more.
  • In fact, the more she thinks about Frank, the more she becomes convinced that he’s perfect for her.
  • They share the same friends, they have the same interests (at least, that’s what she’s heard).
  • Of course, she’s never met the guy.
  • But hey, how important is reality?
  • Mr. Weston (the eternal optimist) is sure that Frank will come soon.
  • Mrs. Weston, however, begins to have her doubts about Frank – which she shares with Emma.
  • Emma and Mr. Knightley get into a spat about Frank’s excuses for not coming to visit.
  • Emma plays devil’s advocate: even though she secretly believes that Frank must be spineless, she argues that his dependence on his aunt and desire to keep her happy make it impossible for him to disobey her.
  • Mr. Knightley, indignant at the disrespect Frank is showing to his father and step-mother by not coming, argues that Frank is a spineless wimp.
  • We find out (surprise, surprise) that Frank also likes drinking and the ladies. (This doesn’t shock Emma at all. Everybody likes a bad man….)
  • As the argument continues, Emma says some pretty smart things. Too bad she doesn’t actually believe them.
  • Mr. Knightley gets all worked up and storms off.
  • Realizing that this is the first time that she doesn’t respect Mr. Knightley’s opinion, Emma decides that maybe she believes her own arguments, after all.
  • It’s amazing what you can talk yourself into!

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