Plot & Conflict

Emma by Jane Austen

Plot Summary:

The novel Emma by Jane Austen is a wonderful adventure, filled with exciting drama, and romance. The protagonist, Emma Woodhouse, claims to be completely against marriage and chooses to be independent, and with an ironic twist in Emma’s love life her whole world is flipped upside down. As a self proclaimed matchmaker, she devotes her free time to setting her close friends up with other bachelors in the village. Harriet Smith, a middle class member of society and Emma’s “adoptive” sister, becomes Emma’s new social experiment. Harriet hopes to be set up with the eligible bachelor, Mr. Elton. Oddly, Mr. Elton takes Emma’s efforts to set him up with Harriet as a sign of affection and starts to have feelings for her. Once Mr. Elton hears the news that Emma is not interested in him, he leaves town and comes back with a new bride.

Emma ends up mistaken once again when a new man, Frank Churchill, moves to town. Disregarding her own opinion on relationships, Emma can’t help engage in a flirtation, but after turning Frank down, she sees him as another possible match for Harriet. After shocking news, it’s revealed that Frank Churchill has been secretly engaged to Jane Fairfax, someone that Emma has been very jealous of. Throughout many other twists and turns and an unexpected ending, the whole world ends up and peace and everything is calm.


Man vs Man- Emma Woodhouse is faced with the internal conflict of relationships, she has to accept her own feelings and emotions and set her vanity aside.

Man vs Society- There is a tear between women not wanting to be married and it not being socially acceptable to remain single.

Emma by Jane Austen.