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The novel also showcases the danger posed by ornate speech—it is likely to be misunderstood. Though Emma is constantly searching for subtext because of her own calculating nature, she is not as good as she believes at reading between the social lines. She continually misreads Mr. Elton’s behavior, to such an extent that we are tempted to question all of the insistence on Emma’s “cleverness.” Though Emma is often correct that there is more to situations than meets the eye, Harriet’s simplicity sometimes makes her see obvious truths that the too-clever Emma misses. For instance, Harriet rightly perceives that Emma is more Mr. Elton’s type than is she is, commenting, “You and Mr. Elton are one as clever as the other.”
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