As the first-person narrator, Frances tells her own story; thus the reader sees her, and everyone else, through her selective but very perceptive viewpoint. Because she presents herself so unfavorably—shy, sharp-tongued, socially awkward, offended by bad manners—the reader may be inclined to think that she is also prim, too polite, and colorless. Yet she is much more than that, as she herself reveals: She is thoughtful, wryly good-humored, courageous, and kind to the lost or lonely, people with lives that are of no interest at all to the convivial and gregarious Frasers and their friends.
Frances yearns to be noticed, to discover new possibilities, to make changes in her life. She is, however, the daughter of two people who did not like changes; after their death, she continues to live in their apartment with its tasteless, outmoded furniture and decor, her only companion a devoted, ancient housekeeper who also resists change, still thinking of Frances as a child and feeding her the tiny meals that she used to prepare for Frances’ invalid mother, whom she adored.
When Frances becomes involved with the Frasers, new possibilities do open up, but Frances does not really change, although she feels different. She takes more care with her appearance and feels attractive. She tries hard to accommodate herself to the Frasers, to amuse and please them, but she continues to be the quiet, private observer, not the rowdy celebrant that the others...
(The entire section is 489 words.)