Chapters 16-18 Summary and Analysis
Emma is miserable and confused. She cannot comprehend how she could have misread Mr. Elton so completely. Failing to make sense of it, she accuses Mr. Elton of seeking her affections to better establish his own position in the world. She goes to bed convinced she blundered everything.
When she wakes up Christmas morning, she is relieved to see the ground covered with snow. Confinement at home means that she won’t have to go out and face anyone, make excuses for Mr. Elton’s absence, or explain anything to Harriet.
On the day that John Knightley returns to London, a letter arrives from Mr. Elton announcing that he is off to Bath for a three-week visit. Emma turns her attention to Harriet and tells her that she misjudged Mr. Elton completely. Harriet responds by weeping, but doesn’t blame anyone since she is certain she didn’t deserve Mr. Elton in the first place.
Emma is touched by her grief and vows to drive Mr. Elton from her thoughts. She wants Harriet to be composed when she next sees him. She takes her to Hartfield in an attempt to soothe her. A letter arrives telling Mrs. Weston that Frank Churchill’s impending visit...
(The entire section is 411 words.)