What type of family does Ruby have in "A Virtuous Woman"?

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sullymonster | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Ruby comes from a wealthy, socially respectable family.  Her father is a commissioner, giving him standing in the community.  Her mother keeps the house running, using a housekeeper (another symbol of status), and requiring that her children adhere to the standards of society. 

Being so focused on status, the family does not focus on emotional health.  There is a distance and a coldness that exists.  This is most sadly exhibited by Ruby's grandfather, Big Daddy, when his wife Sophie is dying.  He is unable to comfort her as he would like - he just doesn't have that emotional skill.  Part of Ruby's escape from home is to search for more emotionally fulfiling relationships.  She specifically chooses her first husband from amongst a lower class, believing that he will be and allow her to be a more complete person.

However, Ruby quickly learns how wrong she is.  Her second choice of husbands is much better, although she still feels that he is incapable of dealing with all her emotional needs.  However, his ability to care for and about her shows Ruby that she enough.


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