Chapters 37-39 Questions and Answers

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Study Questions
1. What is Emma’s reaction to the news of Frank Churchill’s return to Highbury?

2. Why is Mr. Weston especially thrilled that the Churchill family is moving closer to Highbury?

3. What fault does Emma find with Mr. Weston?

4. Why does Mrs. Elton demand that Frank Churchill be her partner?

5. What does Emma notice about Frank’s behavior?

6. What does Emma observe about Mr. Knightley?

7. What can be inferred from Mr. Elton’s behavior?

8. Why does Emma say it would be proper for Isabella and John to dance together?

9. Why couldn’t Harriet escape the encroaching gypsies?

10. How did Frank happen to there at that moment?

1. Emma is agitated that Frank is returning because now she will have to find a way to keep him from declaring his love. Certain that she no longer cares for him and certain that he is carrying the torch for her, Emma wants to avoid embarrassing him with a refusal.

2. Mr. Weston hopes that Frank is in love with Emma. He imagines a marriage between the two of them would mean Frank would settle in Highbury, where his natural father wants him. Emma doesn’t want to be a figure of Mr. Weston’s imagination.

3. At Mr. Weston’s insistence, Emma came early to the ball. She thought he wanted her opinion of the room, but they are soon joined by hordes of guests who apparently are there for the same reason. Emma likes Mr. Weston’s open manners, but laments that they are open to so many. She wishes he were more exclusive.

4. Mrs. Elton’s vain self-centeredness causes her to believe the ball is being held in her honor. Though she is a married woman, she feels Frank Churchill’s superior standing in society marks him as her most suitable partner.

5. Frank is behaving oddly. After whispering to Emma that he doesn’t like Mrs. Elton, he breaks a promise to Emma that they do the first dance together and submits to Mrs. Elton’s demands. Mr. Weston persuades him to dance with Emma in keeping with his wish that they become enamored.

6. When Emma sees Mr. Knightley among a crowd of gentlemen, he stands out. Broad-shouldered, upright, and forceful, he is the best man in the room. But Emma prefers to think of Frank Churchill and wishes Mr. Knightley liked him better.

7. Emma watches as Mr. Elton parades in front of Harriet, pretending not to notice the dejected girl. He claims to be “an old married man” who can’t dance unless plump, motherly Mrs. Weston does him the honor. He exchanges a knowing smile with his wife. Clearly they are enjoying this cruel jest.

8. During this period of history, the term “in-law” is not in general use. Emma’s sister Isabella is married to George Knightley’s brother, John. That makes them “in-laws,” but they are referred to as brother and sister. Emma says they can dance together because they are not “so much brother and sister as to make it at all improper.”

9. As a result of dancing far into the night, Harriet acquired a cramp in her foot. She could not scramble up an embankment to get away.

10. Frank had been in his carriage, but got out to stretch his legs. He would have passed that same place earlier, but he had borrowed a pair of scissors from Miss Bates and stopped to return them. In her eagerness to pair Harriet with Frank, Emma doesn’t question why it took Frank all night to return a pair of scissors.

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