Lucy Snowe has often been described as a detached, paranoid, reticent, and unreliable narrator—and for good reason. In a period when other narrators seem bent on telling, Lucy Snowe insists, instead, on silence. Though scholars generally read Lucy’s silence in negative terms, I focus instead on the ethical potential of her silence. My rereading of Lucy’s silence begins, then, with a revision of our understanding of silence, not as the absence of voice but as a space of ethical rhetorical action. By placing limits on both the characters’ and readers’ knowledge, Lucy’s silence attempts to dissolve identification’s dependence on knowledge about the other, to make possible the search for a sympathetic listener without conforming oneself to social norms that produce a recognizable identity.


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pp. 771-797
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