From plot debriefs to key motifs, Thug Notes’ Emma Summary & Analysis has you covered with themes, symbols, important quotes, and more.
Emma (1815) | Written by: Jane Austen
Jane Austen’s Emma – Thug Notes Summary & Analysis
Yo yo whatup? This week on Thug Notes we on the come up with Emma by Jane Austen. 21 year old Emma Woodhouse is finest lil thang in Highbury. Girl got it all – hella brains, high class rep, and PHAT stacks. Thang is, this dime piece wanna keep livin da single life. One night, she goin on bout how she hooked up her Governess with a rich playboy named Mr. Weston, when her brutha-in-law Knightley roll up to the crib. Emma tell him she gonna play matchmaker one final time for this holy roller cat named Mr. Elton. Later, the Woodhouse fam throw a bangin’ party where Emma start conversatin’ with a sweet lil girl named Harriet Smith. Harriet ain’t exactly packin mad brains, so Emma decide she gonna coach her to live the high life like she do.
While she kickin’ it with Emma, Harriet peep game at the the son of a family of farmers: Robert Martin- and her panties immediately hit the FLO. “Damn he FINE!” But Emma like: “Ugh you don’t wanna mess with no scrub-a** farmer, girl!” Emma thinkin she gotta hook her up with a REAL playboy- like Elton. So Emma get her Cupid on and thangs lookin good between Harriet and Elton, but when word come dat Robert Martin wanna get wit Harriet, Emma like “ NUH-UH! You can’t be slummin it on a farm yo whole life!” When Knightley recognize that Emma told Harriet to dog Robert Martin, he like “Girl. You musta lost yo mind if you think Elton care bout Harriet. He only care about rich b****es.” I mean women. Matta fact, Emma so blind, she don’t even recognize dat Elton might be jonezin for HER a**. One night, Elton start throwin game at Emma, and she all “Hold up! I thought you was eye-f***in Harriet on the reg.” but he like, “oh that b****? I only talk to her cuz she tight with you.” Emma tell him “Boy please”
Harriet all to’ up bout Elton not wantin’ her, but she beast through the pain and head off to visit some homies called The Bateses. Turns out, there’s a new gal on the block- The Bateses niece Jane Fairfax. Jane is foxy, smart, and can bust a sick flow on the pianoforte. EMMA is used to bein’ the one always turnin heads, so she gettin all turnt that errbody diggin’ Jane’s game instead of hers; ESPECIALLY since Jane ain’t got the phat stacks or rep she got. Soon, Mr. Weston’s son Frank Churchill drop in and start choppin it up with Emma. Afta’ some good laughs, Frank gotta bounce cuz his auntie sick, but from da look of it- brutha might be gettin sweet on Emma. Emma like “Meh- he prolly better for Harriet.” Meanwhile, Mr. Elton end up gettin’ hitched to some rich hussy that ain’t nobody can stand. Later, Frank come back to town, but Emma put his a** in the friendzone. They decide hit the club anyway and when Harriet rollin solo on the dance floor, Knightely step up and start freakin on her.
A few days later, Harriet say she’s moved on from Elton to someone way flyer. Emma thinkin it’s dat cat Frank since he got her back when she was gettin mad dogged by a crew of gypsies couple days ago. Thang is, over the next two days, Frank start dirty mackin Emma in front of the whole hood! Knightley say he gonna skip town for a few days. But before he leave, it look like he bout to kiss Emma’s hand, but he pull out at the last second. I know that move! Emma still geeked that he thought bout it, though. Next day – Frank’s auntie take that long dirt nap, so now Emma thinkin he can stop the bullshit and get with Harriet. But then- BREAK YO SELVES. Emma get word that Jane and Frank got engaged on the low low! “Whaaaat? What about Harriet? And this jabroni been smooth talkin me while he’s engaged? AW Haeeel Naw!” When news come to Harriet, she like “Psh. Girl I ain’t in to b**** a** chumps like Frank- I got this other dude and IT. IS ON.” Emma like “Hold up girl. You talkin bout Knightley?” “Daaamn straight.” Emma start buggin HARD- cuz she start realizing that SHE want to be with Knightley. Now Emma thinkin she shoulda never takin Harriet outta the hood.
Soon, Knightley come by and Emma thinkin he probably gonna jabber bout Harriet’s booty. But SURPRISE B****- Knightley say he love HER. Emma like: “Psh dat girl Harriet lost her god damn mind.” Knightley proposes and Emma say “hell yeah playa.” Emma send Harriet a letter sayin “Sorry, girl. Knightley is MY MAN now.” But later she find out Harriet gonna marry dat farmer boy Robert Martin anyway, so she end up gettin her freak nasty too. So both couples get married and it’s all good in the hood. Like all fresh jams laid down by my girl Jane Austen, this text got an a**load to say about women and society back in the day. Emma is a choice example of what an empowered woman of the time look like. Whereas most gals had to rely on men fo’ errything, Emma don’t need nuthin from nobody! She got da money and the power to control her own life- both in the crib and in the hood. Sounds all good, right? Cept, dat control AIN’T all it’s cracked up to be. Matta’ fact, it just turn her into an miserable hater.
“The real evils, indeed, of Emma’s situation were the power of having rather too much her own way, and a disposition to think a little too well of herself: these were the disadvantages which threatened alloy to her many enjoyments. The danger, however, was at present so unperceived, that they did not by any means rank as misfortunes with her.” (3) Funny thang is, Knightley always tellin Emma that it’s the duty of fat cats to look out for the po’ folk since they the leaders of the hood. But like my girl Jane Austen do, she just slangin irony up in here. Cuz money sho as hell don’t make people act right toward ANYBODY. Check out dat f***boy Elton’s sugar mama. She JUST came up in the game and got PAID, but STILL be actin like a fool: always actin nasty and sayin stoopid things in front of errybody. Dat new money didn’t give her no cla**. But even without swole pockets, people still actin out. Elton think he can get with Emma, but say Harriet too much of a hood rat to marry. So it’s cool for Emma to slum it with you but you’re too good for Harriet? F*** that, playa.
Truth is, Austen hatin’ on ANYONE who obsessed with rank or status- no matter what yo money look like. But she throw the MOST shade at Emma, who spend her time thinkin dat people gotta stay in their place and anybody who try to better themselves is just clownin. Just check what she say when Elton try to put a ring on it: “…he must know that in fortune and consequence she was greatly his superior. He must know that the Woodhouses had been settled for several generations at Hartfield, the younger branch of a very ancient family, and that the Eltons were nobody.” (100)
So if Emma such a hater, how can the reader tolerate her stank a**? Well that’s when my girl Jane Austen’s pro writing skillz come in to play. She slangin this technique called free indirect discourse. Basically, da narration is hella CLOSE to Emma’s thoughts, but it also include some outside commentary, letting us step back from her whack-a** perspective. So the audience can follow her motivations, but not have to deal with all the shallow bulls*** up in her dome.
Thang is, though, Austen don’t use free indirect discourse with da more righteous characters like Mrs. Weston and Knightely. Since Mrs. W and K-money too legit to quit, Austen just let their words speak for themselves. It’s only when Emma learn that Harriet is gonna marry da farmer boy, dat she recognize all this social status jive don’t mean nuthin. You can get rich like Mrs. Elton and still act like a chump. Or you can be a low level hustler like Robert Martin and still be classy. Even if you got humble beginnings like Mr. Weston, high society gonna treat you right if you act real. If you SHOW respect, you gonna GET respect. Straight up. It don’t matter if you got cash or street certified status- it’s how you act that gonna git you where you goin. No matter where yo family come from or how much you got in the bank, you should always focus on how you TREAT people. And if bein on the social comeup is da only thing on yo mind, then you best check you’self, son, cuz you lookin in the wrrrrrooooong places, yo. Dat s*** ain’t gonna make you a better person. Only yo actions can do that, ya feel me?
Catch y’all next time, my well read ballas. Peace.