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Although Phyllisia Cathy values her friendship with Edith, she finds herself embarrassed by Edith's appearance, and this attitude is what most differentiates the two. Phyllisia is intelligent (like her mother) and strong-willed and opinionated (like her father). She thinks a little too highly of herself, and she is bothered by the taunts she receives from schoolmates because of her West Indian accent and her brains. Edith, on the other hand, is a cheerful, happy-go-lucky type, despite her poor family life; Edith basically takes care of the family's younger children. Edith is also thoughtful (as displayed by the flowers she takes to Phyllisia's sick mother) and loyal, valuing their friendship far more than Phyllisia. Both have a rough family life, but in the end, Phyllisia appears to make up with her father, while Edith's life spirals downward.
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