How does Mrs. Conlan feel about  John's drinking and smoking?

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

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Mrs. Conlan unfortunately doesn't do much about letting her opinion on John's drinking and smoking be known. She does things like interrupt every argument with a trivial offer of a pleasantry or with cleaning or with vacating the locale. Most attribute Mrs. Conlan's behavior to insensitivity and perfectionism that prevents her from noticing or caring about John's harmful habits. However, it may be that, after a long marriage to a man that is a trial and a sorrow, and after seeing some of the same traits arise in her beloved son, Mrs. Conlan may be using these avenues to escape the heartbreak she feels and the heartbreak she envisions coming.

If the first scenario of insensitivity and perfectionism is true, then Mrs. Conlan's attitude toward John's smoking and drinking would most logically be callous unconcern or blind disregard. If the second scenario of escapism from overwhelming unhappiness and dread is true, then her attitude toward John's behavior would most logically be frightened disapproval and paralyzed worry.

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