Study Guide

Grandmother and Grandfather Hutchins in Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret.

By Judy Blume

Grandmother and Grandfather Hutchins

Before we ever meet these two, we already don't like them. After all, they disowned Margaret's mother for marrying a Jewish man, and have stuck to their position even though it means they've never gotten to meet Margaret. Ugh, right? And the thing is, that Grandma and Grandpa Hutchins don't fare any better once we do finally see them. Look at how Margaret describes them:

I knew it was them right away. I knew it by the way they walked down the airplane stairs, clutching each other. And when they got closer I knew it by my grandmother's shoes—black with laces and fat heels—old lady shoes. My grandfather had white hair around the edges and none on top. He was shorter and fatter than my grandmother. (21.12)

Needless to say, their visit doesn't go super well either. If you're not clear on why these two are immediately unappealing to Margaret, be sure to check out Grandma Sylvia's write-up. Let's just say these two ain't got nothin' on Grandma Sylvia.

Now you might think that after being estranged from their daughter and her family for well over a decade Grandma and Grandpa Hutchins would show up on their best behavior. But that's not entirely the case, and it seems like Grandma H just can't help herself. She approaches Margaret and says:

"'Margaret," Grandmother said, touching my sleeve. "It's not too late for you, dear. You're still God's child. Maybe while I'm visiting I could take you to church and talk to the minister. He might be able to straighten things out." (21.64)

Do you see what Grandma Hutchins does here? Not only does she try to get Margaret to church, but she implies that the way Margaret's parents have been raising her is a problem when she refers to straightening things out. While she may mean well, Grandma H is totally out of line here, and it takes some serious hutzpah to waltz in after years of silence and try to convert Margaret to Christianity. It's fitting though, in terms of the book, because Grandma and Grandpa H are reminders of how divisive religion can be—so it makes sense that Grandma H would try to pull Margaret over to her side.