Examine the ways in which Beatrice has neglected and physically abused Ruth and Tillie.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Beatrice's abuse has manifested from her own self- hate and resentment about the path her life has taken.  She does not abuse because she feels some sadistic need to exert dominance.  She abuses because she has no other way to interpret the data that the experiment of her life has yielded.  Certainly, Beatrice's abuse of Ruth has helped to enhance her seizures.  The fact that Ruth suffers seizures as a result of anxiety and stress help to substantiate Beatrice's abusive and neglecting attitudes towards her older daughter.  Ruth deals with this in her excessive worry about her appearance and her promiscuity, realms that provide her temporary relief and neurosis from Beatrice's abuses.

Tillie is almost a ready- made victim for Beatrice.  She embodies the world of hope, dreams, promises and possibilities.  This is where Beatrice subjects her to neglect and abuse.  In what Tillie represents, Beatrice seeks to silence a voice that she sees and hears in the dark recesses of her own mind.  Her abuse of Tillie is reflective of Beatrice's own self- hate.  The resultant neglect of her daughter is a reflection of her own hatred for the life she leads and the path her life has taken.

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