Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 311
The main character in Stephanie Land's 2019 memoir, Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to Survive, are Land herself and her family and relations.
Stephanie Land is the author, protagonist, and narrator. She cleans houses for a living after an accidental pregnancy at age twenty-eight left her as a single mother. She voyeuristically examines the personal affects of her clients and in this way learns intimate details of their lives. She suffers a series of abusive relationships before finally achieving her dream of earning a college education and becoming a writer.
Mia is the narrator's daughter. She is seven months old when Stephanie and Mia's father finally split up (as a result of him punching a hole in the wall). Mia goes to daycare while her mother works and is a constant source of inspiration for her mother. Mia's antics (singing and dancing in their shabby apartment) constitute one of the few positive presences in Stephanie's life.
Stephanie's father, Jamie, allows her to live with them for awhile after Mia's birth, but Stephanie leaves when he becomes abusive. (Stephanie's mother is entirely absent from her life and from the memoir, except in flashbacks).
Next, there is Travis, a farmer whom Stephanie dates for a while. She lives at his home and helps out with yard work. However, he is abusive and later breaks up with Stephanie, kicking her out and preventing her from moving out of state. Stephanie and Mia are forced to move into a studio apartment and remain in stifling Port Townsend, Washington. He provides modest child support for Mia, but only reluctantly.
Finally, Stephanie has a social worker who inspires her to achieve her dream of pursuing an English degree, despite the fact that it is impractical. The social worker tells her that it will be beneficial for Mia to see her mother achieve her dreams.
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