Character Analysis of Elizabeth Leopold in "an Old-fashioned Story"

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In "An Old-Fashioned Story" written by Laurie Corwin, Corwin describes Elizabeth Leopold as "rebellious, spunky, and passionate" (63). In her story these three characteristics are not only shown throughout Elizabeth's childhood but throughout her adulthood as well.

As a child her rebellious nature is revealed through her secretiveness. Because Elizabeth's parents, especially her mother, Mrs. Leopold, were so controlling, she concealed her thoughts, feelings, and most of her outside life from her parents. She does not bother to tell Mrs. Leopold how she feels about Nelson or how upset she is with her parents for pushing her on him. As an adult, her rebellious nature comes alive at the Rodker's annual Christmas Party. Mrs. Leopold asks Elizabeth why she has not spoken to Harriet. Elizabeth tells her mother that "Harriet can go to hell" (69). Elizabeth rebels against her parents not just because they are so controlling, but also because her rebellious nature allows her to relieve the pressure that her parents have placed on her.

As a child Elizabeth's spunkiness is implied by Mrs. Leopold when she questions her about where she has been when she notices that Elizabeth has been coming home late from school. As the questioning continues, Mrs. Leopold obviously thinks that there is more to what is being said. She finally asks Elizabeth what she is after. In her mother's mind it is not the boys she is worried about, "It is Elizabeth herself" (65). As an adult, Elizabeth shows her spunkiness at the Rodker's annual Christmas party when she plans to seduce Nelson's brother, James (68-69). As a child and an adult, Elizabeth's spunkiness allows her to keep in touch with herself while she aggravates her mother at the same time.

Elizabeth's passionate side is shown throughout her childhood as well as her adulthood. As a child, she is very passionate about horses. Because she loves riding them so much, she is willing to muck out the stalls at the stable once a week in exchange for a free riding lesson, though this is unknown to her mother (65). As a child she also has a great passion for reading which also continues on to her adulthood. During her adolescent years, if she wanted to read with out being disturbed she would read under the covers with a flashlight (64). When she got older and went to college, her newfound freedom allowed her to "stay up late and read anything she liked" instead of partying or becoming promiscuous like some of the other college girls (65).
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