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Chapter 88: Character Sketch

Why did that take so long? I don't even know. I've been lost in a maze of unemployment, semi-employment, and fruitless job-searching. Well, anyway, here is Chapter 88

The contrast between Emily's poetic sympathy with Mad Mr. Morrison and her spectacular coldness toward Evelyn (who, to be fair, has been a major pain -- but wait, so has the guy who just finished stalking Emily in an empty church!) is interesting to me. You could say that Evelyn is of sound mind and therefore responsible for her actions, whereas Mr. Morrison is Not Right (but why do they just let him wander around the countryside crypto-molesting girls? I don't buy that "no one had ever been seriously hurt" when the very next sentence is about a girl having a nervous breakdown, and I don't think you expect me to buy it, narrator,) and therefore worthy of pity or empathy. 

Mrs. Kent also gets a lot of sympathy from Emily and the narrator, even though she does far more damage than nearly anyone else to the lives of Emily and Teddy and arguably Ilse (though the latter's armor of glibness is so dense by the end that it's hard to tell) (and of course our friend Dr. Burnley does more than his fair share in that department) (and actually NO ONE in the Core Four gets a halfway decent home life EVER except maybe Emily). Even Aunt Ruth gets to praise Emily behind her back and rise to her defence re: The John House Orgy.

It seems like the major divide in M.'s charachterization is not between good people and bad people, or people who do more damage and people who do less, but between people the narrator finds interesting and people she finds uninteresting. Diana Barry is good and uninteresting and so the narrator treats her with good humor, out of deference to Anne, but without too much sympathy. Ruby Gillis escapes authorial indifference only by dying of consumption. Josie Pye, of course, is bad and uninteresting. All of Emily's friends are excruciatingly interesting, including dubious Dean, and they are consequently all given a great deal of leeway to act selfishly and make a mess of things. But Evelyn is mean and boring. Her poetry is boring. Her fashion sense is not as finely-tuned as Ilse's -- rich but not original. Even her handwriting is boring. So her abjection, too, is a dull affair.  

As a boring person, I've always been pretty uncomfortable with this side of L.M. Montgomery. 


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