Tears, Idle Tears

by Elizabeth Bowen

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Who is the antagonist in the short story, "Tears, Idle Tears"?

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In my opinion, the mother is the antagonist in the story. The point is supported by the fact that the mother is opposed to her son’s uncontrollable emotions. She is worried that her son would not fit in school because he cries constantly. The mother tries to control the boy’s behavior by taking away some privileges, but her efforts are futile. She takes to belittling and reprimanding the boy after her attempts to stop the boy from crying fail. The mother does not seem interested in trying to understand why her son cries often and uncontrollably. She is more concerned with the social effects of her son’s public outbursts, and she leaves him behind to avoid the embarrassment. She cares for her son, but she is unable to handle his outbursts.

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