In the novel, Rose is somewhat defined by her role in the family. She is the family’s provider, her mother’s carer and a role model for her sister. When her father died, “Rose had taken care of everything”. Because her mother’s pension is small, rose assumes the role of provider, and we are told that “her wages paid for most of their needs”. In addition to paying for the household, Rose also provides her sister Eilis with financial and emotional support. She tries to find her an office job in Enniscorthy, and pays for her books for her bookkeeping and rudimentary accountancy course. Instead of chastising Eilis for accepting the job with Miss Kelly, Rose acts supportively, giving her a new cardigan and some lipstick. While in Brooklyn, Rose continues to provide Eilis with financial and emotional support, giving Eilis “money to live on”until she is “settled in her job”, and suggesting in a postscript that Eilis “might like sometimes to write to her separately about private matters or things that might worry their mother too much”
The responsibilities she has assumed toward her family hinder her in important wa...
... middle of paper ...
...on’t know when she learned of her illness. Eilis wonders “if she had known before Eilis had left”. Because the story is told in the third person but limited to Eilis’ perspective, we don’t get much insight into Rose’s inner world. It is left for the reader to speculate that perhaps Rose did know beforehand, and wanted to save Eilis from being obligated to taking Rose’s place in the family after she passed away. Perhaps Rose wanted to spare Eilis the restrictions she experienced due to her responsibilities.
In conclusion, Rose is both defined and hindered in ways by her connection to her family, but she manages to create a life for herself outside of the home. Rose expresses satisfaction in her life. However, it seems that she wants a different life for her sister, and we presume that Rose did not want her sister to be hindered in the same way she had.
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