Chapters 9-11 Summary and Analysis

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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 454

New Characters: Isabella Knightley: Emma’s sister

John Knightley: Emma’s brother-in-law

Summary Emma begins composing riddles while Harriet writes them down. Mr. Elton is asked to come up with one. When he does, it is credited to a “friend” and written to Emma, but she interprets it as being meant for...

(The entire section contains 454 words.)

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New Characters:
Isabella Knightley: Emma’s sister

John Knightley: Emma’s brother-in-law

Summary
Emma begins composing riddles while Harriet writes them down. Mr. Elton is asked to come up with one. When he does, it is credited to a “friend” and written to Emma, but she interprets it as being meant for Harriet and congratulates her on her new alliance. Harriet cannot believe a man as popular and well-placed as Mr. Elton wants to marry her, but she takes Emma’s word for it.

Mr. Woodhouse comes in and prattles on about the impending visit from his daughter Isabella and her family just before Mr. Elton pays a call. Before he leaves, Emma picks up the riddle intended for her eyes only and gives it back to him, saying that she had copied it into Harriet’s book because it is too good not to share. Mr. Elton reads it and declares with some hesitation that this is the proudest moment of his life.

Paying a charity call on a poor family, Emma and Harriet run into Mr. Elton the next day. Emma tries to leave them alone to chat, but can’t resist listening in. She is sure Mr. Elton must be making a love declaration to Harriet, but hears only the menu from yesterday’s dinner party. Again she tries to give them time to themselves, but overhears nothing that sounds intimate. She concludes Elton is being cautious.

Emma decides that she will leave Harriet and Mr. Elton to work out their romance by themselves and turns her attentions to her sister’s visit. The families are reunited and make small talk about one another, the Westons and the Churchills. John Knightley inquires if Frank Churchill visited his new stepmother yet. Emma says he is expected soon. Mrs. Knightley cannot comprehend how Frank’s natural father could give him over to the care of the Churchills. Her husband contrasts her love for her child with that of Mr. Weston for his. He characterizes Mr. Weston as a man who takes more pleasure in noisy society than in domestic solitude.

Analysis
Ignoring Mr. Knightley’s warnings, Emma cannot leave Harriet and Mr. Elton alone. She manipulates them both into empty conversations that she interprets as courtship. She teases Harriet about how soon she will become Mr. Elton’s wife, and she torments Mr. Elton because he doesn’t profess his love when and how she sees fit.

In frustration, she washes her hands of them and turns her attention to her sister and her family. She finds John Knightley’s opinions far less easy to sway than Harriet’s and holds her tongue when he criticizes Mr. Weston for being a social maven.

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Chapters 6-8 Summary and Analysis

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Chapters 12-15 Summary and Analysis