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Besides Being Honoria's mother, how does Helen's character contribute to the story's...

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jbennett2013 | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 11, 2012 at 11:07 PM via web

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Besides Being Honoria's mother, how does Helen's character contribute to the story's themes?

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kiwi | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted November 30, 2012 at 12:09 AM (Answer #1)

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Helen, and her death, is the source of the resentment between Marion and Charlie. She blames him outwardly for Helen’s death, and indirectly for her and her husband’s lack of prosperity. Marion and Lincoln took custody of Honoria after Helen’s death and Charlie’s admission to a sanatarium to resolve his alcohol problems.

 …she had lived for a long time with a prejudice – a prejudice founded on a curious disbelief in her sister’s happiness,

Marion’s resentment is rekindled when Charlie returns to regain custody of his daughter. She has kept within herself the knowledge that Helen was happy in her life with Charlie, however wild and reckless they were. She sees Charlie as a  “tangible villain” for his excesses. Helen however, has “escaped”Marion’s wrath and hatred by being dead. Her death is an escape from the jealous remonstrations of her sister.

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