Study Guide

Emma Chapter Forty-Eight

By Jane Austen

Chapter Forty-Eight

  • Emma spends a good deal more time (and a good portion of this chapter) re-thinking everything that has happened in the past few months.
  • Now that she might lose Mr. Knightley, Emma understands how much he means to her.
  • It’s unthinkable that he might not have her first in his affections, as he has for so long!
  • Moreover, Harriet wouldn’t even realize what a good man she had.
  • How can you move from liking Mr. Elton to liking Mr. Knightley? It’s like comparing cheez-whiz to caviar. (OK, maybe you like cheez-whiz. Who are we to judge? But you get our point.)
  • Emma allows herself to mope all day.
  • Luckily, Mrs. Weston comes to call.
  • She’s just been to see her future daughter-in-law.
  • She tells Emma that Jane was initially very ashamed and awkward, but she eventually told Mrs. Weston all about her love for Frank.
  • Emma immediately pities Jane.
  • It’s clear that Frank doesn’t know – or doesn’t care – how much damage a secret engagement could do to his reputation. Jane, however, cares deeply.
  • Emma regrets her actions for the past few months all over again.
  • Honestly, the only thing separating Emma’s fate from Jane’s is money.
  • Emma spends some time thinking about how horrible Jane’s position must have been.
  • It begins to rain.
  • (It always rains in novels when life sucks.)
  • Alone again, Emma thinks about how everyone will soon leave her.
  • Mrs. Weston is having a baby, which means that she won’t come over nearly as often and that her attention will always be elsewhere.
  • Jane and Frank will soon leave.
  • And Harriet…and Mr. Knightley…
  • For the first time, we see Emma regretting the fact that she’s left alone with a crotchety father.
  • She can see her future mapped out for her.
  • Day after day after day exactly the same – alone.

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