Before we continue with your regularly scheduled Shmoop character analysis, we request that you take this brief quiz. This test will determine your E.L.L, or Enid Lambert Level.
Without any further ado:
If you answered d to any of these questions, then we have bad news: You might be Enid Lambert.
As you can see, Enid is defined by her immense aptitude for self-delusion. While she's not the only character in the novel that lies to herself, she's definitely the best at it. This might just be because she's had more practice—Enid has been trying to reconcile Alfred's "young-man" looks and "old-man" personality since day one—but we think there's something a little deeper going on (4.276). Enid is the best liar because she's the only one who's aware of the lie.
Think about it. Enid admits to Sylvia that she doesn't actually think that Chip works for the Wall Street Journal, and the previous night she admits (to herself, at least) that she is disappointed with her children. To her credit, Enid sees right through her children's lies, though she doesn't have the heart to publically acknowledge it.
It's funny—and a little ironic—that it's the seventy-five year old mother who emerges as the heroine in the end. Would you have expected Enid of all people to become more open-minded? Would you have expected her to realize the error of her ways?
If there's one thing that Enid should have learned, it's that you can't force change on anyone—yourself included. Yes, she has a wide world open ahead of her, but she shouldn't expect an instant correction to take hold. That's the type of thinking that got her here in the first place.