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Character development of Jeannette’s parents, Rex and Rose Mary, introduces some other major themes of the work. Rex, who always promises his family things but seldom delivers on them, is both an antagonist and a protagonist. He is a sympathetic character despite his flaws because of his charm and youthfulness. Rose Mary however is less sympathetic because she seems so self-centered. Determined to be an artist, Rose Mary declines other paying jobs even when her family needs the money for survival. Rose Mary’s character also introduces larger concerns about occupations. She does not want to be a teacher or have a “real” job but rather delights in the creativity and spontaneity of being an artist.
By the section’s end some of Jeannette’s naiveté has faded. Having grown up in many different places, Jeannette is able to distinguish between the ‘good’ times and the ‘bad’. She knows all families do not function as hers does. Jeannette also begins to see the harm in her father’s drinking habits. When Jeannette celebrates a birthday at the end of the section, she asks her father to stop drinking. Rex tries to wean himself off the alcohol but is ultimately unsuccessful. This failure prompts the family’s move back to Rex’s hometown in Welch, West Virginia.