Emma

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Emma Chapter 45 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Emma returns home to find Mr. Knightley and Harriet visiting. Mr. Knightley is soon to visit the John Knightleys in London, and he wants to say goodbye. When Mr. Woodhouse mentions Emma’s visit to the Bateses, Mr. Knightley perceives Emma’s intentions with warm gratification. He takes her hand, in a gesture of uncommon friendliness, and is about to kiss it, but then refrains. They part in perfect amity.
Mr. Knightley’s manner of departure puzzles Emma, but she is grateful for their reconciliation. Mr. Knightley, despite his criticism, is also generous and quick to perceive her change of heart. He is greatly moved by her efforts, more than his discretion will allow him to express.
Themes
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The following day, news arrives of Mrs. Churchill’s death. Emma reflects that Frank may now be freed to marry whomever he chooses—even Harriet.
Mrs. Churchill, as a willful and powerful woman, holds the young dependent Frank’s fate in her hands.
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Marriage Theme Icon
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Emma attempts to rectify her past coldness towards Jane: she invites her to Hartfield, sends her food, and attempts to visit her. Jane pleads ill health, but Emma learns that she has been seen out of bed. Emma realizes with sorrow that Jane is determined to receive no kindness from her, but feels it was worth the effort.
Emma’s attempts to demonstrate her good will towards Jane are rejected, causing her some pain and regret. Jane’s own motives for her behavior remain somewhat mysterious, though it will be made clear that Jane feels that Emma has played a role in wrecking Jane's engagement to Frank.
Themes
Social Class Theme Icon
Gender Limitations Theme Icon