The Accidental Tourist

by Anne Tyler

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What are some of Rose's negative characteristics?  

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Rose is not entirely a bad character.  She is not shown to be one who is excessively mean- spirited or emotionally hurtful.  Yet, if one were to draw up a list of negative characteristics about Rose, I think that something to top that list would be her excessive need to "fix" things.  She is a "fixer" and to this extent, she is also an enabler.  She really and truly believes that she can fix all of another person's problems.  In this, she enables those for whom she cares.  Her form of caring is one whereby she is only content when she is in the position of power to do things for others.  In this, Rose is an enabler to her brothers.  This is comfortable for her, a role to which she is accustomed.  Her need to be a fixer is thus for her own benefit, as it provides a sphere of comfort for her and a realm in which she is "safe."  In this, I think that a negative quality can be evident for Rose's need to assist in an overtly maternal manner is motivated by her own desire to feel needed and wanted by others.  I don't think that Tyler constructs this as an overwhelming or specifically negative quality.  Rather, it is one whereby individuals are able to see that in a desire to fix and exercise despotism over another, there might other forces at play.

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