Examine the transformations that Louise goes through in the story.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that one of the most intense realities of the story is that Louise does not really undergo any profound transformations.  The hope would be that she would.  The desire would be that she would understand how awful of a mother she has been in prizing beauty and superficiality above all.  Yet, she really does not move to this point.  She finds that her love of Patrice is rooted in his beauty.  When she finds something else to occupy her attention in the form of Lanz, Louise does not transform, moving towards her new love and abandoning her son, as she did her daughter.  When Patrice loses his beauty, Louise does not change into a supportive mother.  Rather, she commits him to an institution.  

One can see a transformation evident in her gradual mental distinegration.  Her prizing of beauty over all is something that is impermanent, as beauty is shown to fade.  Patrice's beauty fades, her own life's joys fade under the weight of reality.  Her transformation into a figure losing mental control is evident towards the end of her life.  Her succumbing to to the fire of her home is reflective of a world in which the beauty she once prized is gone forever.  Only destruction and decay is left and this transforms her into a being that can only die in such a condition.

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