If there were antagonist in this novel, Lucille, Matilda's mother would be it. OK, not really. She's Mattie's dear mother, after all, but she's also a force that must be reckoned with. Lucille is a single parent, the main authority figure in her daughter's life, and is at odds with Matilda from the very beginning of the novel. When Lucille falls ill, though, Matilda must figure out what to do and how to act – even if her mother isn't there for her.
Lucille, like Grandfather, is from an older generation, one that lived through the hardships Revolutionary War (a period Lucille tends to see through rose-colored glasses). Because of this, she views herself as a hard worker and is often uttering the phrase "When I was a girl…" While the past defines who Lucille is, she must look to the future if she's going to understand her daughter's place in the world.