is the kind of novel where one should not focus on plot. In truth, the plot is very silly; but what redeems this novel is Edgeworth’s character studies—the social and emotional impact on deception and concealment. It is truly amazing how something so insignificant and trivial—school girl deceptions and concealment—can be blown out of proportion, on the brink of becoming a social nightmare for all involved. This is the most interesting part of the novel, and I can easily understand why authors such as Elizabeth Gaskell would develop this theme in their own subsequent works.
I will give Edgeworth credit for creating a balanced work in regards to both plot and character. No one is left unscathed in this story. The characters are perfectly matched. Each character is guilty in some way or another, whether it be the cause of some deception or due to the maintenance of some unworthy principle or belief. Other characters are guilty of making hasty decisions without fully considering the consequences of their choices. By the novel’s end, it is impossible for any of the characters to say that they were more right or just in their deeds and actions over another. There is no sacrificial offering to be made; each understands that they were equally at fault. I admire Edgeworth for doing this.