What was Matryona's initial reaction to the stranger in “What Men Live By”? Why did she change her mind?

Matryona's initial reaction to the stranger in “What Men Live By” is wholly negative. When she sees him standing there, not moving or raising his eyes, she concludes that he must be a bad man, as he seems afraid. However, Matryona eventually changes her mind about the stranger when her husband says to her, after she gets angry towards the stranger, “Matryona, have you no love of God?”

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When Simon the shoemaker brings home a cold, naked man, it's safe to say that his wife Matryona doesn't exactly roll out the red carpet for her new guest. Truth be told, she's downright hostile to the poor, shivering wretch.

The stranger's odd behavior also elicits Matryona's deep suspicions. When she sees him standing there, neither moving nor raising his eyes, she comes to the conclusion that he's a bad man as he looks afraid.

Matryona's hostility towards the stranger continues as everyone sits down for supper. She didn't cook for him and feels resentful that he's sharing the meal she prepared for herself and Simon. For good measure, she lets rip at her husband for his drinking, claiming that she was right in not wanting to marry him in the first place.

When everyone sits down to supper, Matryona is still as angry as ever. She continues to be mean towards the stranger, claiming that if he were a good man he wouldn't be naked. Why, he's not even wearing a shirt!

But when Matryona looks at the stranger, sitting there on the edge of the bench motionless, with a look of pain on his face, she immediately falls silent. And when Simon asks her “Matryona, have you no love of God?” Matryona looks at the stranger, and her heart suddenly softens towards him.

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