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Quotes

Quote #1

I groaned. Mother had been a perfect girl. Her family was wealthy then, but that didn't stop her from stitching entire quilts before breakfast, or spinning miles of wool before tea. It was the War, she liked to remind me. Children did what was asked of them. And she never complained. Oh, no, never. Good children were seen and not heard. How utterly unlike me. (1.7)

The Revolutionary War was a time that asked a lot from people, and they stepped up to the challenge. As a child, Mattie's mother was not allowed to dawdle: she worked hard and took on responsibilities. As an adult, Lucille expects the same things from Mattie. How are things different for Mattie, though?

Quote #2

"You should be dosed with fish oil. When I was a girl…" She kept talking to herself as she carried a steaming pot of water outside to rinse the butter churn. (2.4)

Again, the familiar refrain of "when I was a girl." Is Matilda listening or is Lucille really just talking to herself? Why do the two have such difficulties in communicating?

Quote #3

When I was eight, she got a letter saying her husband had been killed by a runaway horse. That was her worst day. She didn't say a word for months. My father had only been dead two years, so Mother knew just what lay in Eliza's heart. They both supped sorrow with a big spoon, that's what Mother said. It took years, but the smile slowly returned to Eliza's face. She didn't turn sour like Mother did. (2.15)

How do Mother and Eliza deal with the past in different ways?

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