Study Guide

The Fenister Family (Father, Stepmother) in The Returning

The Fenister Family (Father, Stepmother)

Graceful's dad and stepmom expect a lot from her—they want her to pull her weight around the house by helping with the chores, and constantly tell her that they are right. Graceful might not love this dynamic, but it's clear that the Fenisters have Graceful's best interest at heart, and are far more mature and world-wise than their young daughter.

Take her marriage to Gyaar for example. When Graceful is throwing a hissy fit about it, her dad tries to comfort her by saying, "'Ah, Graceful. You will one day understand'" (13.140). It's a tough pill for Graceful to swallow, but eventually, she sees her dad is right—her marriage does bring a kind of stability to the country that it desperately needs. While this means her life becomes more about duty than desire—feel free to talk amongst yourselves about the pros and cons of this—we can't really say things didn't go exactly as her parents planned them.