Amos Fortune, Free Man

by Elizabeth Yates
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Compare Violet and Lois in Amos Fortune, Free Man.

Violet shows herself to be a firm, resolute woman in defying the will of her husband, Amos. Amos wants to use some of his savings to help out Lois, a widow with many small children. But Violet thinks that Amos should find work for Lois's children, thus teaching them the value of hard work. If Violet is a strong character, Lois is much more passive, unable to do much to rise above her impoverished condition.

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Violet is Amos's wife. A strong, formidable woman, she goes against prevailing conventions by defying her husband's will on what she sees as a matter of principle.

Amos wants to use his savings to help out an impoverished widow called Lois and her children. Ever since being widowed, Lois has...

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Violet is Amos's wife. A strong, formidable woman, she goes against prevailing conventions by defying her husband's will on what she sees as a matter of principle.

Amos wants to use his savings to help out an impoverished widow called Lois and her children. Ever since being widowed, Lois has been unable to lift herself out of poverty, and Amos clearly reckons she could do with a helping hand.

However, Violet is firmly of the opinion that the best way for Amos to help out Lois would be for him to provide work for her children. This way, they will understand the value of hard work and self-reliance. To that end, Violet hides Amos's money in a kettle so that he won't be able to give Lois and her family a handout.

By contrast, Lois can be seen as a much more passive, less resolute character than Violet. Whether or not one agrees with Violet's judgment that Lois is "shiftless," there seems little doubt that this poor, unfortunate widow lacks the ability to rise above her impoverished circumstances and make something of her life. This may or may not be a character defect, but whatever it is, it certainly seems to be holding herself and her children back.

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