In the story, Bowen uses both direct and indirect presentation/characterization to acquaint us with Mrs. Dickinson.
Direct characterization involves the author explicitly telling us what the character is like; the author may describe the character's emotional state, worldview, or perspectives on life. On the other hand, indirect characterization involves a little more engagement on the reader's part. In indirect characterization, we evaluate a character based on what the character says and does.
In the story, Bowen tells us exactly what type of woman Mrs. Dickinson is. She writes that Mrs. Dickinson is a "gallant-looking, correct woman" who is focused on preserving every outward appearance of propriety. She is also one of those women who has an "unfailing sense of what not to say" but insists on saying it anyway. Bowen tells us that "despair, perversity, or stubborn virtue must actuate" such women.
Mrs. Dickinson views her son Frederick's behavior as "abnormal" and treats it as a threat...
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