Which character undergoes the most change? How does this affect the novel?
Join Date: 10/15/10
Join Date: 06/13/11
I think certainly Mama. By the end she has moved from being a stepford-type wife enjoying the life her husband can provide to actually being a responsible person. I think she truly did regret not doing more for Mary and I think she finally understood her role in what happened.
Join Date: 10/16/10
I agree with Dorothym. Paula definitely experiences the most change. I don't think all of it was by choice, though. I wonder what would have happened if Bill had never made those mistakes in his business and lost everything. Would she have stayed with him? I think it was obvious to her that staying with him and leaving him were choices of the same color - both were going to be equally difficult and equally destitute - so might as well go it alone and have some pride. It took courage to leave, but it's not like she was leaving her posh life; that had already left her. Still, she's different by the end of the novel, more confident and less willing to be knocked around by her life. Others in the novel - Jubie and Stell, for instance - grew more into themselves as the novel evolved, but Paula is a different person at the end than she was at the beginning.
Join Date: 08/16/11
I agree that Paula changed the most. She went from being self-absorbed and passive to taking charge of her children and her life. Mary's death forced Paula to start caring for her children on a day-to-day basis and to start doing her own housework. The diving board scandal finally forced her to throw Bill out. But without those major events, I don't think Paula would have had the courage or motivation to change her life. She was too comfortable with the status quo and the material things life with Bill provided.
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