What is the meaning of the comment about "the wrong end of [the] little telescope" (paragraph 24)? How is that comment a suitable conclusion for the first part of the story?
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The first part of the story presents the women in very narrrow ways, usually from the point of view of each other or, alternatively, from the point of view of a narrator who observes a distance herself (always third person). They are referred to as “the dark lady,” “the other lady, “her companion,” and so on, for they do not know each other at all. The simile of the telescope makes use of the idea that in looking through the wrong end of a telescope the vision becomes reduced, more narrow, rather enlarged. Such is the view each has of the other. In the two previous paragraphs, Mrs Slade “refects” that “she felt her own unemployment” more than her friend, suggesting she perceives her self as more important and with greater sensibilities, while Mrs. Ansley thinks “Alida Slade's awfully brilliant; but not as brilliant as she thinks," an equally belittling remark.
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