In About Effie, what do you think Effie’s personal truth is?Explain your answer using specific evidence from the text.

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M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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In the story "About Effie" by Timothy Findley we witness that Effie is a housemaid for a well-to-do family in Toronto, Canada. Effie is mysterious from the beginning in that she has a tendency to express her feelings greatly through expressions in her eyes. From what we know, Effie seems to be waiting for someone she simply refers to as "he" or "him". We do not know who this man is, or what relation he has to Effie, but she states with natural surety that this man will come to her "during a thunderstorm, in a black cloud where there is music."

 “The man she was waiting for certainly didn’t sound like any man I’d ever heard of. She just called him ‘him’ and sometimes it was even ‘they’, as if there were a thousand of them or something”

Neil, he main character, is young at the time and tries his best to understand Effie the best way possible. However, Effie looks at people (males) as if this were the person she is waiting for and, when she realizes it is not, she cries a lot. 

“. . .the way you’ll know her is this: she’ll look at you as if she thought you were someone she was waiting for, and it will probably scare you. It did me”

As one reads the story, one cannot help but thinking that Effie is waiting for someone with whom she feels safe. Her innocence denotes that this person cannot be a man she wants to marry. It must be someone who loves her as much as she loves him. It is commonly said that this person is her father, who abandoned her once, or died, and she still cannot get over it.

Don’t be scared. This man, I don’t know who he is, but if it’s Effie he wants then he’s all right.

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