Verbal Dexterity Is Apparent At Barton Park With The Exeter Hailed Miss Steeles

760 Words Dec 7th, 2015 4 Pages
Elinor’s verbal dexterity is apparent at the meetings at Barton Park with the Exeter-hailed Miss Steeles. Though the elder Miss Steele’s obnoxiousness stems from her vulgarity, the young Lucy Steele’s unattractiveness comes from her shrewdness and her strategic confession to Elinor of her engagement to Edward Ferrars. Lucy appears to be the victor of the confrontation and the societal superior: her “superior claims on Edward” forces Elinor into a “silent amazement” while securing her future alliance with a man with the wealth and status that Elinor lacks (Sense and Sensibility 112, 104). Elinor’s perception of Lucy’s underlying motive and her straight-laced sense of decorum leads to her forfeit in the form of silence and false propriety. Yet, Elinor does not forsake her battle. She seeks conversation with her rival at the next card party under the guise of aiding her craft. Both girls are careful to keep within societal acceptability, “guarding her countenance” to conceal “very agitated feelings” (116, 119). Rather than provoking with catty comments, Elinor surreptitiously gains an advantage through silence, the withholding of reaction and therefore, of information, placing Lucy in a position abject of leverage. The “pause, therefore, of many minutes’ duration” is utilized numerous times, much to the discomfort of Lucy (119). Elinor is successful in this endeavor, for her silence attests to a nonchalant, unaffected air. Lucy’s manipulative words have no superficial effect…

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