Dewey Dell by dandanhuanghuang


									                                                                         AP Literature
                      Character Analysis: Dewey Dell
Dewey Dell is both an intelligent young woman, and a challenged child.
      “Dew” in her name represents her youth and how it evaporates; “Dell” means
       girl from a vagrant class (tramp)

      Dewey Dell is the lone female character in a male dominated society and
      Dewey is unable to grow because she is a girl and she is left ignorant and
          o Lafe leaving  wonders “why he didn’t remain in town."
                  Ignorant about him leaving because of obligations
          o Lafe got her pregnant, and she doesn’t want the baby, so she goes to a
             pharmacist for an abortion pill but instead gets taken advantage of
      Dewey Dell struggles with her identity and her sexuality because of her
       impending pregnancy
          o Dewey feels shame about her pregnancy and because of that, her body
                  Suffers a crisis on her sexuality and her identity
                         Hates being the only girl in her family  embarrassed
                            by this and feels alone because she can confide in no
          o Pregnancy also makes her resent her own body
      Dewey is illiterate like the rest of the children
                   She is unable to have coherent and ordered thoughts
                           Pg. 64 very indecisive
                           "The first time me and Lafe picked on down the row. Pa
                              dossent sweat simply because he will catch his death
                              from sickness…"  her thoughts are continually
      Dewey Dell’s main concern and priority was getting to Jefferson
         o Jefferson is where they bury mother but Dewey has ulterior motives
            to go there
                 Dewey wants to go there to seek help for her own abortion 
                    selfish motives
         o She secretly wants Addie to die so that she can go to town and not
            take care of Addie anymore
         o When at Tull’s house he threatens disruption to the journey
                                                                     AP Literature
               Dewey urges Anse to keep going and reminds him of his
    Dewey Dell is burdened by her situation (pregnancy) and seeks help
       o Dewey is in a hopeless predicament that she tries to desperately
          escape from
               Fails on 3 occasion to get an abortion
               Dewey is alone in her pregnancy  Lafe leaves
                       Dewey is naïve and ignorant when it comes to Lafe 
                         doesn’t know why he left
                       Doesn’t realize it was to escape his obligations to her
       o In this time, babies represent obligation more than they are a source
          of joy and pride for their parents
               Addie showed no love towards her children  Gave Anse
                   Dewey Dell to compensate for her cheating
               Dewey Dell also sees her pregnancy as an obligation that has
                   come “too soon”

    Dewey is still only a child and she is being forced into mother hood and
                pg. 50: reluctant to follow her father’s orders, doesn’t like that
                    she’s a girl, really wants to leave
                pg. 51-52: Dewey Dell is really graceful and skilled; when Pa
                    tries to smooth out the quilt like her, he makes it worse
                         Takes care of Vardaman
                         Takes up household duties
                         Will have to be a single mother

 o She doesn’t grieve for her mother’s death
      o Only mentions it on page 120, “too soon, too soon”
              Too soon to take over the role of mother in the family
              Too soon to become a mother to her own baby
              Not talking about the loss of her mother
 o Pregnancy
      o Keeps it secret to avoid shame and embarrassment
              Darl’s knowledge of it poses a threat
      o Wants to get out of the situation
      o Abortion her first and only choice
      o Causes her sexual identity
      o Resorts to ignorance to protect herself from the truth
    Dewey is a replacement and not really close to her family
    Ordered around
                                                                      AP Literature
   Cash is the only one Dewey Dell respects
       o He helps with her work
       o She tends to him when his leg is injured
                Cradles him in her lap, page 156-157
   Vardaman and Dewey Dell are the youngest
       o Stick together
       o Dewey Dell takes care of him like a mother
   Anse introduces new wife  introduces Dewey after Vardaman even though
    she is older than him
                Dewey has the lowest value in the family even though she does
                   the most for them
   Dewey is untrusting of all the men she encounters
                All the men she has known have let her down  no one looks
                   out for her, while she has to look out for everyone
                        Rape her
                        Steal her money
                              o Pg. 255 Pa takes Dewey Dell’s money, uses it to
                                 buy the false teeth, doesn’t care why she has it or
                                 what she needs it for
   Ma pays her to do Jewel’s work
       o Rather her work than Jewel
   Ma considers her a “peace offering” to Anse
       o Doesn’t see her as kin
                “I gave Anse Dewey Dell to negative Jewel” page 176
       o Her own value of her children shows Dewey Dell’s opinion of her
                Children are a burden, and represent sadness

   Dewey Dell is considered attractive
      o First pharmacist (Moseley)  “pretty in a kind of sullen awkward
         way” pg. 199
      o Her black eyes mentioned several times  “I saw she had as black a
         pair of eyes I ever saw”
      o Second drug store  “She looks pretty good for a country girl” “She
         looks like a pretty hot mama for a country girl”
      o MacGowan  “She looked pretty good…” pg. 242
      o Pg. 48: “Her voice is strong, young, tremulous and clear, rapt with its
         own timbre and volume”
   Dewey despises Darl for the simple fact that he knows her secret
      o Darl saw her with Lafe and is the only person who knows
              Sees Darl as a threat because he has power  dreams of killing
              1920’s pregnancy out of wedlock is social taboo  no one can
                  find out her sin
              attacks Darl at the grave  prompted by her fear of him
                                                                  AP Literature

   Darl doesn’t describe Dewey with beauty
               "Squatting, Dewey Dell’s wet dress shapes for the dead eyes of
                  three blind men those mammalian ludicrosities which are the
                  horizons and the valleys
                      Being a woman is much less about beauty than it is
                         about their one purpose  producing babies and then
                         caring for them

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