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On Shirley

I was thinking tonight about the ingenuity of Shirley. When the story began I had an impression of Caroline being a very mundane, almost trite person, in love with Robert but on the whole secure and complacent in a very common way. Having no competition, having his obvious regard and their both being single, almost assumptive in her hanger-on visits and French lessons at his estate.

Then, Robert rejects her, and she makes a complete turnaround from being an average young woman in love to a positively tormented soul. And you really see the progression, and see Caroline grow through her pain into a noteworthy being.

The moments that are her darkest, when she visits the old maids and takes comfort in their companionship, burying her pain while confronting her darkest fear, being old and alone. When I look back on those times I am almost sorry Shirley entered the picture. She is loud, annoying, although I know without her the story cannot come to its end.

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