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Word Count: 1,794
The wives of Images of Women in Literature have the common thread of a resilient independent spirit often despite any outward show of anything but obedience and humility This spirit at times helps to sustain them while at other times only makes the compromises that their husbands and society place on them even harder to bear Indeed they would be happier not realizing that there are other choices and opportunities It is often the conflict between their spirits and the circumstances of their lives that causes the greatest problems to them It is truly amazing that this spirit survives It is not that unlikely for Mrs James in Elizabeth Phelps The Angel over the Right Shoulder to cultivate independence with an indulgent husband like Mr James Her spirit of independence is out in the open with her quest for some private time to improve her mind The fact is that however willing Mr James is to indulge her with some time to herself he offers little in way of any practical help much like the man of today She suggests he just follow me around for one day when he dismisses all the work she does by telling her if you arranged your work systematically you would find that you could command your time 29-30 Instead of taking her suggestion or better yet taking over the work himself he meditates on the problem while she finishes the chore of trimming the lamp He sets the terms of her private time and says let the work that is undone go undone but without even thinking interrupts her when he needs a button sewn on 30 While The Angel Over the Right Shoulder ends on New Years Eve with Mrs James happily giving up her independence and undefined yearning one is left with the impression her emotion will pass as quickly as the average New Years resolution and her quest for freedom will
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