“She doesn’t have to be careful. She’s got an income. Being his daughter is all pretty abstract for her, and I’m sure she wants to keep it that way. Mark my words. She and Frank will get married and produce a son and there’ll be a lot of coming together around that. She always does what she has to do” (Smiley 60).
This quote stood out to me because throughout the story I have noticed how much the women rely on the men in this story. Ginny has always followed her fathers orders and done what was expected of her as a women. She remained in Iowa, a farmer’s wife, and now cooks, cleans, and runs the household. She has no job other than cooking and doing household chores, and therefore relies on her husband for an income. Rose also lives a similar lifestyle. Though I realized this from the very beginning, I wasn’t sure if the characters realized that they live a lifestyle reliant on men until I read this conversation between Ginny and Rose, where it’s obvious they do.
Ginny seems to be unhappy. She says she is happy, but through reading her narrative, I get the feeling that she is not. Then Rose has suffered from breast cancer, which seems to have taken a toll on her body and emotional state. Ginny and Rose both talk about Ty and Peter like they are trying to prove to us that they are happy in their relationships and are therefore happy in life. Meanwhile Caroline, the only one to have her own income and stability, seems to be living a very happy life through fulfilling her dreams and getting things she needs and wants on her own. Caroline has a fiance, but does not talk about him as if she is only happy because she has a man.
After this weeks reading I realized that women who are financially and emotionally dependent on men seem to be living unhappy and decaying lives. However, women who have left the expected lifestyle become strong an independent women. Though Ginny and Rose are in good standing with their father and husbands, based on this analysis, will they end up broken while Caroline, the banished one, will end up truly happy?