The story opens with Mrs. Freeman, Mrs. Hopewell's hired help, wearing a "neutral" expression. She won't reveal herself to others. We learn, too, that Mrs. Hopewell is condescending to Mrs. Freeman, saying she is not "ashamed" to introduce her to friends. She also refers to the Freemans not as "trash," but as "good country people." We also learn that she hired them because she had no other choices.
Mrs. Freeman frames the story because she has more insight into human nature than either Mrs. Hopewell or Hulga. In a sense, she stands outside them, framing them, because she can understand more than they can. As the opening shows, she knows enough to be guarded around other people. Since she and Manley are designated "good country people," we can imagine that she has depths that Mrs. Hopewell can't perceive.
At the end, we get an insight into Mrs. Freeman's mind and realize that she is truly is more perceptive than her employer. The evil smelling onion she is unearthing possibly makes her...
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