What is a character sketch of Mom Luby in the short story "Mom Luby and the Social Worker" by Kristen Hunter? What is an analysis of the short story?

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Mom Luby in Kristen Hunter’s short story is a dedicated, productive older woman who has a lot of compassion.

An example of Mom Luby’s dedication is her decision to visit the welfare office in order to apply for assistance for her two foster children. The shows dedication because Mom Luby...

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Mom Luby in Kristen Hunter’s short story is a dedicated, productive older woman who has a lot of compassion.

An example of Mom Luby’s dedication is her decision to visit the welfare office in order to apply for assistance for her two foster children. The shows dedication because Mom Luby has a very busy life with many obligations to fulfill. The fact that she fits the visit into her schedule shows that she prioritizes the needs of Elijah and Puddin’.

Another character trait is her productivity. Despite being an elderly woman of low means, Mom Luby is an efficient worker. Miss Rushmore, the social worker who visits Luby’s home to evaluate the living conditions of the children, accompanies Mom Luby on her two hours of errands, after which the much younger Rushmore is mentally and physically exhausted. Miss Rushmore half-jokingly remarks that Mom Luby accomplished more in two hours than she has been able to in two years. This shows that despite her outward appearance, Mom Luby is extremely productive.

Finally, Mom Luby’s compassion is shown in her treatment of the foster children and her involvement in the community. An elderly woman who must run a speakeasy in the back of her house to make ends meet, Mom Luby is hardly the most likely candidate to be a foster parent. However, her willingness to do so and her dedication to caring for them serves as evidence of her deep compassion for fellow human beings.

Mom Luby’s character is the most important to understanding the story, but to help answer the second part of your question I will briefly discuss theme. At the end of the story, Mom Luby responds to Miss Rushmore’s comments that the social workers’ office should hire her to get more of its work done. Ironically, Miss Rushmore says Mom Luby cannot work there because she is unqualified to do the job. The irony at work is that Mom Luby has proven herself to be qualified based on her character. If Miss Rushmore has been unable to be as productive as Mom Luby—as she suggests—then she is the one who should be unqualified. This reveals the problem of basing one’s qualifications solely on education and training rather than character and aptitude, the latter of which Mom Luby demonstrates equally.

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