Three Thanksgivings Characters
by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

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Three Thanksgivings Characters

(Short Stories for Students)

Andrew, a minister, is Mrs. Morrison’s son, who is concerned about his mother’s welfare. Andrew encourages his mother to come and live with them, saying that she can sell her house and he will invest the money for her. Andrew is worried that Mrs. Morrison cannot take care of herself, and he is overjoyed when she comes to stay with him and his wife, Annie, the first Thanksgiving. However, Andrew’s house is small compared to his mother’s, and Mrs. Morrison is not comfortable there. Andrew is somewhat angry when his mother leaves after a week to return to the Welcome House. For the third Thanksgiving, Mrs. Morrison makes enough from her women’s club to send travel money so that Andrew and Annie can come stay with her.

Annie, Andrew’s wife, is very efficient in helping her husband with his ministry. Because of this, there is nothing for Mrs. Morrison to do when she stays at their house. Also, Annie insists on treating Mrs. Morrison like an old woman and needlessly coddles her.

Mrs. Isabelle Carter Blake
Mrs. Isabelle Carter Blake, a noted social activist, is one of Mrs. Morrison’s childhood friends. Mrs. Morrison invites her to speak at the Welcome House, where Mrs. Blake encourages the Haddleton women to organize their own rest and improvement club. Mrs. Blake also speaks to individual churches in Haddleton, where she suggests that the Haddleton women rely on Mrs. Morrison and the Welcome House for their club needs. Mrs. Blake is a very influential woman because she has done wonderful work with children, has successfully raised her own six children, and has just written a novel.

Mr. Peter Butts
Mr. Peter Butts is a persistent suitor of Mrs. Morrison, and he also holds the small mortgage on her house. Mr. Butts, a wealthy entrepreneur, has pursued Mrs. Morrison’s hand in marriage since they were both young, when he was poor and she was rich. Although he is not unkind, he is tactless and takes great, visible pride in the fact that their financial situations have reversed. Mr. Butts was friends with Mrs. Morrison’s husband and is Mrs. Morrison’s friend, although she does not wish to marry him. Still, Mr. Butts continues to encourage the now-widowed Mrs. Morrison to marry him. The greatest pressure comes from the loan that Mrs. Morrison has taken from him. He hoped, when loaning her the money for her small mortgage, that Mrs. Morrison would not be able to pay the money in the end. He thinks that this situation would cause Mrs. Morrison to marry him so that she can keep her house, which he knows she loves and refuses to sell. In addition to his desire for Mrs. Morrison, Mr. Butts also desires to own her house, the Welcome House, and thinks that he will get both in the end. He is confident that Mrs. Morrison will not be able to pay the loan, since she is a single woman and, he thinks, a single woman cannot make much money in two years. Therefore, he is very surprised when Mrs. Morrison’s women’s club pays off her debt, and he believes that Mrs. Morrison’s family has helped her pay the loan. At the end of the story, they go their separate ways.

The Countess
The Countess is an American-born, Italian woman, who uses inspirational stories of European women’s clubs to help convince the women of Haddleton to form their own rest and improvement club. The Countess is a friend of Mrs. Isabelle Carter Blake.

Jean, who also goes by Jeannie, is Mrs. Morrison’s daughter. Jean encourages his mother to come to live with them and says that her husband will sell her house and invest the money in his own business and then pay her interest. Jean and Joe are overjoyed when Mrs. Morrison comes to stay with them the second Thanksgiving. Unlike Annie, who needs no help, Jean depends heavily on her mother to help take care of Jean’s four children. Jean also babbles constantly about her problems. As a result, Mrs. Morrison is not comfortable at Jean’s house either, and she leaves after a week. For the third Thanksgiving, Mrs. Morrison makes enough from her women’s club to send travel money so that Jean’s family can come stay with her.

See Jean

Joe is Jean’s husband, who focuses on getting Mrs. Morrison to sell her house and invest the money in his business. Joe says he will pay her good interest, but Mrs. Morrison does not want to sell her house. Nevertheless, when Mrs. Morrison visits, he asks her many questions about the Welcome House.

Mrs. Delia Morrison
Mrs. Delia Morrison is a strong, independent woman who uses her many social and management skills to achieve financial self-sufficiency—by forming a local women’s club. In the beginning of the story, Mrs. Morrison, the daughter of a senator and the widow of a minister, is faced with a dilemma. She is having a hard time paying off the mortgage on her house, which is due in two years. Mrs. Morrison loves her house, which was built by Senator Welcome, her father. However, Mrs. Morrison does not want to take in boarders at the Welcome House, something that she has done in the past to support her family. Both of her children, Andrew and Jean, encourage her to come and live with their respective families, but Mrs. Morrison tries each home for a week and is not comfortable at either one. Nor does she relish her third option, to marry Mr. Peter Butts—a friend who holds the mortgage on the Welcome House—since Mrs. Morrison still loves her deceased husband. The mortgage is due in two years, on Thanksgiving, and Mr. Butts is hoping that Mrs. Morrison will marry him in a desperate attempt to avoid having to sell the Welcome House. Although her family and Mr. Butts think that Mrs. Morrison will eventually have to choose to live with one of them, she refuses to give up hope that she can keep her house without sacrificing her independence or integrity.

In an effort to explore her options, Mrs. Morrison inventories all of her assets in the Welcome House and realizes that she could turn the house into a hotel or a girls’ boarding school. She dismisses these ideas as financial liabilities and ultimately seizes on the idea of using the Welcome House as the site for a women’s club. Using one of her girlhood connections, Mrs. Morrison invites Mrs. Isabelle Carter Blake—a noted social activist, mother, and author— to speak to all of the women who live in and around Haddleton. Mrs. Blake encourages the Haddleton women to form a club at the Welcome House, and it becomes wildly successful under Mrs. Morrison’s skilful management. By the third Thanksgiving, Mrs. Morrison has made enough profit to pay off the loan from Mr. Butts and even has enough left over to bring her children and their families to the Welcome House for Thanksgiving.

Sally is Mrs. Morrison’s longtime housekeeper. She is a black woman who collects the weekly membership dues from the women in the Haddleton Rest and Improvement Club.

Delia Welcome
See Mrs. Delia Morrison