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|Learning to 'read'
Written by Barbara
(4/1/2006 1:01 p.m.)
It suggests that this novel is about novel reading, novel readers, the nature of novels, the influence of novels on their readers, the importance of reading, and the importance of choosing reading materials. It sums that up by stating the the novel is about the development of a reader and that Catherine is not only learning to read books but to 'read' people, social situations, and landscapes as well.
When Catherine first sets out on this adventure, she has a pronounced lack of life experience, and so she must supplement it with her reading experience to try to make sense out of all the new things that are happening. But she does at least attempt the 'reading'.
Here is a good example from Ch. 3
"Catherine feared, as she listened to their discourse [Mrs. Allen and HT, re shopping and muslins], that he [Henry] indulged himself a little too much with the foibles of others."
And yet she is not confident enough in her 'reading' to say anything about it, especially not to HT. He asks what she is thinking, she says 'nothing', and although he teases her that this is "artful and deep to be sure", she still won't reveal her thoughts to him.
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