Describe opinions about the behavior of the various people in "Swaddling Clothes."

Most of the characters in "Swaddling Clothes" make terrible, indefensible choices. Toshiko's husband is insensitive, using the birth of the child as a funny tale to tell, and Toshiko seems to be unaware of or has been, at least until this point, ignoring her husband's behavior.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

There is not a lot to approve of regarding the characters in "Swaddling Clothes " and their choices. Toshiko's husband, for example, is a man of no sensitivity whatsoever, who chooses to treat the unexpected birth of a baby in his home as a funny story with which to...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

There is not a lot to approve of regarding the characters in "Swaddling Clothes" and their choices. Toshiko's husband, for example, is a man of no sensitivity whatsoever, who chooses to treat the unexpected birth of a baby in his home as a funny story with which to entertain others. He chooses to make fun of the mother and the baby and is only concerned with the mess the event made of his house.

Toshiko, on the other hand, does have some sensitivity and feels for the baby. But she is described as "dumbfounded" to hear her husband discussing the awful event as though it is funny, and while it is unclear how long she has been married to him, she did choose to marry him and can't be unaware of his horrible nature. While she is obsessed with the baby's origins and what will become of his future, she chooses not to help him or his mother beyond wrapping him in flannel rather than newspaper (which is a kind choice).

When the homeless man grabs her by the wrist, presumably to do some violence to her, Toshiko chooses to submit rather than fight, apparently feeling that this is what she deserves. The homeless man is the only character whose choices cannot be completely dismissed, as we have no idea what he has really chosen to do to Toshiko.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on