Learning to think
Posted by Constanza on February 16, 1998 at 08:22:33:
In response to Could She Help Herself?, written by Cassia on February 15, 1998 at 16:20:59
As well as the scene in Santa Croce, where Lucy is helpless, without her Baedecker, to know what is beautiful, there is the scene in the following chapter, where she asks Mr Beebe whether Mr Emerson is nice or not nice - she can't work it out for herself.
Can the problem be that Lucy simply hasn't learned to trust her emotional responses? That emotional responses were discouraged, think of the 'stirred up' remark when Lucy plays Beethoven.
It's not only her emotional responses that she distrusts, but all of her own thoughts and ideas as well. As it says in chapter V "she was accustomed to have her thoughts confirmed by others or, at all events, contradicted; it was too dreadful not to know whether she was thinking right or not.".
She is dependent on others to tell her about what she has experienced and what it means - till the crucial experience in the Piazza, where something important happens, and she knows it has, and so does George - but he won't tell her what it is. She has to muddle (a word which appears quite often) through and try to work it out for herself.
Quite true. The problem is that she refuses to do it. She is afraid to know what has happened and she solves the problem but putting it out of her mind. That George knows what it is is also a source of distress for her. Therefore she is determined to put behind the whole incident by avoiding George. However, both Miss Lavish and Mr Eager would remind her of the incident and by doing so force her to use her brain: as regards Miss Lavish, her perceptions become more acute and she is able to see that she is being assessed as a possible "heroine"; in the case of Mr Eager, she dares question his assertions and asks him to support his ideas with some kind of evidence. She would have done neither thing before the murder.
However, she still doesn't like it; she'd rather go on as before, with her mother, Charlotte, Mr. Beebe and everybody telling her what is proper and what is not. She chooses to take the easiest path.
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