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Characters

Miss Ophelia Timeline and Summary

  • Miss Ophelia arrives in the South and meets the servants. She’s horrified by Eva’s ability to kiss African-Americans and admits she’s prejudiced.
  • Miss Ophelia discusses slavery with Marie and St. Clare at various turns. She wants to know why they keep slaves. She is especially curious why St. Clare continues to keep slaves when he realizes it’s wrong. She keeps reminding him of his Christian duty.
  • When St. Clare gives Miss Ophelia Topsy to educate, she’s not sure how to feel about it, but she decides it’s her duty.
  • As she teaches Topsy how to make a bed the way she likes, she catches Topsy stealing. She demands a confession from Topsy and is horrified to discover that Topsy will lie, confessing to things she didn’t actually do, just because Miss Ophelia demanded it. It’s a humbling lesson.
  • Miss Ophelia is further humbled when Eva is able to love Topsy and when Topsy admits she knows that Miss Ophelia can’t stand to love her.
  • After Eva dies and Topsy is despondent because the only person who loves her is gone, Miss Ophelia tells her she will try to love her. She wins Topsy’s heart in that moment.
  • Miss Ophelia demands that St. Clare sign papers, if he really means to give Topsy to her. When he wonders what the hurry is, she claims that you never know when somebody might die. She wants it done so that Topsy is secure, as she plans to take her back to Vermont and make her a free woman.
  • After St. Clare’s untimely death, Miss Ophelia tries to run interference between the servants and Marie: first, she tries to protect a young woman from getting whipped; then she tries to encourage Marie to honor St. Clare’s promise to free Tom. She fails in both instances.
  • Miss Ophelia takes Topsy back to Vermont with her and makes her a good, Christian woman.

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