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|GR: The task of telling lies
Written by Barbara
(8/25/2003 12:02 a.m.)
In Ch. 21, as the Dashwoods are sitting there listening to Lucy praise Lady Middleton, we have this:
Marianne was silent; it was impossible for her to say what she did not feel, however trivial the occasion; and upon Elinor, therefore, the whole task of telling lies when politeness required it, always fell.
I thought about this for quite awhile. This bit seems to have the narrator focused on Marianne's thoughts, although we are usually more inside Elinor's head.
Just after this, we find that Elinor spoke about Lady Middleton with more warmth than she thought, and kept up her end of the conversation as best she could. But I wouldn't call anything that Elinor said an out and out lie, as such. Would any of you?
In fact, I rather enjoyed Elinor's way of being polite with a bite, and actually it is quite clear exactly what she thinks, without her being so rude as Marianne.
Marianne, on the other hand, does actually lie in company. Back in the first week's reading, when Mrs. Jennings was trying to find out who Elinor liked, Marianne says to Margaret "you know that all this is an invention of your own, and that there is no such person in existence." Is this not a lie for the sake of
I think it's interesting--and yet another example of Marianne's inconsistency--that she believes herself to be on the moral high ground here by refusing to 'lie' to speak to the Steele sisters.
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