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Silence Communicates Meaning

Silence has meaning. It is not merely the absence of speech. It is in fact a form of speech. It means different things in different contexts. In one context, such as that described by Covino from Jane Austen's Persuasion, it shows that the listener agrees with the speaker. Her silence is agreement. In other cases, silence might mean anger, disagreement, fear, or some other emotion. We can tell what the silence means by the situation in which the silence takes place.

The meaning of a moment of silence might be changed if the situation were different. Covino says that Wentworth's behavior toward Louisa and her silence show the nature of the power relationship between the two. Wentworth is like the teacher and she is like the pupil


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Silence Communicates Meaning. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 22:33, August 30, 2015, from