Charlotte is a savvy manipulator
Posted by Stephanie W. on February 17, 1998 at 14:10:29:
In response to What is the problem with Charlotte?, written by Constanza on February 16, 1998 at 12:43:09
] 1) She is afraid people will think her ungrateful and therefore she makes a point of acknowledging her "thanks" every five minutes; however, at the same time, she suffers "gratefulness" as a "martyrdom". And make everybody realises it.
] 3) She is very much worried about being a bother to and imposing on other people; however, she manages to do that all the time.
I think Charlotte's constant apologizing for being a "bother" is a crafty way of manipulating Lucy and her mother (and anyone else who happens to be in a position to help her along in life). By calling attention to her lowly status as a poor, unmarried relation, she hopes to appeal to their sense of Christian duty and cut short any criticism they may direct toward her. Also, in playing up deficiencies of her own station in life, I think she tries to make Lucy feel guilty for having the advantages she does. I'll have to go back and search for some passages, but sometimes I sense an almost palpable hostility toward Lucy in Charlotte's apologies and self-deprecating comments.
I think Charlotte almost welcomes Lucy's predicament with George, as it gives Charlotte the upper hand in attempting to help Lucy deal with her problem. Charlotte goes from being the helped to being the helper. I don't mean that Charlotte is constantly malicious or is even always fully aware of what motivates her behavior; however, I do want to suggest that Charlotte's behavior should not be taken at face-value, the way she would have others see it.
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