Compare and contrast the characters of Mr. and Mrs. Baines in "The Basement Room."

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bmadnick eNotes educator| Certified Educator

On the surface, Mr. and Mrs. Baines seem to be totally opposite. Seen through Philip's young eyes, Mr. Baines is a kind and caring man who tells him stories and takes him for walks. Mrs. Baines, however, is equated with the monsters that make up Philip's nightmares. She is domineering and cold. Mr. Baines seems to fear his wife as much as Philip does.

Below the surface, however, both Mr. and Mrs. Baines are alike in in their betrayal of Philip. He is an innocent boy who isn't old enough to understand the complexities of adult relationships. Mr. Baines asks Philip to keep secrets, the seriousness of which the young boy cannot comprehend. Philip is certainly no match for the trickery of Mrs. Baines in her effort to catch her husband with Emmy. They both end up stealing Philip's innocence and youth, so that he's unable to ever love and trust again.

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The Basement Room

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