When women write a boys' school story they may, for instance, tentatively adopt an accepted code, such as the schoolboy code against talebearing.
Before Tom Brown, though, and also afterwards in girls' school stories and in American boys' school stories, talebearing is treated with less consistency - setting into relief the contradictions that permeate the trope, contradictions between loyalty to peers and loyalty to adults and the religious and moral authority that the latter represent.
In Little Men Alcott sets up a conventional test of the talebearing ethic: the wrongful accusation.
According to the Hafets Hayyim, talebearing includes both saying something bad about a person (lashon ha'ra) and telling a person that another person did something bad to him or spoke badly about him (rehilut).
Talebearing is so powerful an urge that few people are capable of withstanding its strong pull.
In the spirit of Rabbi Nahman's wife, a possible solution to the dilemma of talebearing may be offered in which something similar to the forbidden act is permitted.