Summary Of A Short Story

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In trying to answer question number five, I consider a short review of the story to be in order, and I must apologize for repeating racist words that are used in the story. Thirty percent of the story is set in the waiting room of a doctor 's office where Mrs. Turpin has taken her husband, Claud, for treatment. It is here that she occupies her thoughts by placing the occupants of the waiting room into what she considers to be their positions in life, using clichés which clearly reveal her view of the world in which she finds herself. She is aided in these activities because the waiting room is filled with people from several different social categories. Present are the "lady" and her daughter, Mary Grace, who is reading a book entitled Human Development. Also present are an elderly gentleman, a mother and a child whom Mrs. Turpin considers "white and trashy," an old woman, and a younger woman, "not white trash, just common." Mrs. Turpin 's naive hypocrisy is exposed as the conversation in the doctor’s office is re lived, and by the revelation of Mrs. Turpin 's innermost thoughts. Mrs. Turpin lives by what the author has called the "Southern code of manners." This code allows her to appear genteel on the surface and to keep to herself the less attractive thoughts which boil behind her facade of gentility. She considers herself very fortunate because she sees herself and Claud as members of the class of "home-and-land owners." Above are people with more land, bigger houses,

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