In Fannie Flagg’s esteemed novel, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café, characters and lessons from both the past and present inspire our main character, Evelyn Couch, to make changes in her life. The epitome of middle-aged misery and menopausal depression, Evelyn learns lessons from the stories and advice given to her by characters such as Mrs. Virginia ‘Ninny’ Threadgoode help her lift the veil of gloom cloaking her and aid her in reestablishing her dreams and goals – such as gaining a healthier and happier marriage with her husband, Ed, or losing all her unnecessary pounds. What sparks her journey to this better life, one she can actually look forward to at night rather than considering suicide, are the stories of a small Alabama town in the 1930’s and the residents who fight for happiness in a difficult time; Evelyn takes these stories of times past and uses the morals and advice given by Ninny to face each of her problems and attack every day with confidence. The transformation Evelyn embarks on is a sign of how strong she, or anyone, can be when their head is in the game, and as we see Idgie still selling her foods at the end of the book, we conclude that the past can live on even into the present.
As the story opens, Evelyn Couch exudes depression and hopelessness when she meets Ninny at the Rose Terrace Nursing Home. A strange and slightly eccentric old woman, Ninny marks the beginning of Evelyn’s journey for a better life when, on the first visit, Ninny starts to tell Evelyn all the stories of the small training town of Whistle Stop – of Buddy Threadgoode and the train, of young Idgie, a strong willed girl by nature with her head in the clouds who had a rebellious nature from the start, and of all of the Threadgoode family in their generous Southern hospitality. As time passes, Ninny and Evelyn get to understand each other better, and Ninny seems to be almost guiding Evelyn through her life with the tales, and even gives her advice on...
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