Social Concerns / Themes / Characters
Although virtually devoid of political concerns, Gilchrist's characters are extremely class-conscious. If poor, they are acutely aware of that fact. If wealthy, their money often not only fails to insure happiness, but deepens their unhappiness. Life at the country club or in the Southern mansion is rarely an untroubled one. As these women try to break out of the roles that society and the past have crafted for them, they take all sorts of risks in order to define themselves. Some of their actions, such as Rhoda's doffing her formal attire at a wedding reception to usurp her brothers' pole vault, are symbolic of their yearning to break out of the constraints of their past, their sex, or their social standing.
Although not a militant feminist, Gilchrist depicts women whose search for freedom leads them to rebellions ranging from the symbolic to the violent.