Evelyn Ryan Character Analysis

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The role of a woman has drastically changed since the 1950s. It was clear that then, the wife of the house had no more duty then to take care of the children, and have dinner on the table by the time her husband got home. Today, many college campuses are outnumbered by female students then by male students, proving that many more women have jobs outside of their homes today, than they did in the 50s. Times have radically changed since The Prize winner of Defiance, Ohio was written. This novel, written by Terry Ryan, is a memoir of her mother, Evelyn Ryan, and the struggles she and her family suffered through during Terry’s childhood. I will be exploring the topic of the role that the mother had in contributing to the family and how her husband…show more content…
Evelyn is forced to handle this problem by herself. She finds that she cannot even find help through her church. On the occasion that Evelyn goes to her church nothing comes out of it. “Father’s message to Mom was clear. He expected mom and the rest of us to endure Dad’s behavior and “keep the family whole.” According to the church, putting up with an alcoholic and abusive husband was considered at best a woman’s lot and at worst her fault” ( Ryan, 72). His alcoholism poses numerous arguments about money between him and his wife. “We don’t have any extra money, Mother” Kelly exclaims during one argument (164). “Of course we do, Kelly. You’re drinking it right now,” Evelyn states, in one of the first times she stands up against her husband…show more content…
The argument starts when the family starts getting deeper in debt due to a dry spell in Evelyn’s winnings. During the fight, Evelyn scolds Kelly about drinking. “The contest wins can’t replace the money you make from working, Dad.” This comment angers Kelly, saying that Evelyn has no right to judge him because the only thing she does all day is clean and write in her “stupid notebooks” (168). Evelyn shoots back saying that without her contest winnings, they’d be in debtor’s prison. This comment further angers Kelly, and he, being drunk enough to not realize his own strength or actually register what he is doing, pushes Evelyn in a fit of anger. The children quickly come to their mother’s aid and call for an ambulance. When Evelyn gets back from the hospital, Kelly tries to make sense of what he did by confiding in her how he gets taunted at work. This is when the reader really finds out how Kelly feels about her contesting. Though he is grateful for it, he tells his wife how it is almost unbearable to work with these men all day after she wins a big prize, because he constantly gets taunted
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