Many stories contain foils or an opposing character so that the author can be able to make contrast with the main character and another so it highlights and sharpens their own characteristics. In the story “Astronomers Wife” we see a strong foil between two of the characters because of the protagonist, Mrs. Ames, who describes both men in very different views through their attitudes towards people, work ethics and their different intelligentsia.
Another way that Mrs. Ames differs the plumber and Mrs. Ames husband is how they treat her. Mr. Ames is a person who seems to treat people as an object rather than an actual human being, especially when he says: “Katherine! said the astronomer in a ringing tone. There’s a problem worthy of your mettle.” Mr. Ames is showing us that he is abrupt and rude towards his wife, making her subservient to his dominance whereas the plumber acts bitterly towards Mr. Ames lack of helping, and treats Mrs. Ames with respect and fairness that he extrapolates by asking Mrs. Ames to help him with the soil problems and complimenting her where Mrs. Ames seems to finally believe that she might be more of use other than what her husband leads her to be where its proven in the last lines of the story where the plumber later on had complimented her in saying that he could fix the feelings of inadequacy caused by her husband: “But I made her another in no time, he was saying, out of flowers and things and what-not”… “She took his arm, knowing that what he said was true.” She finally feels like more in tune with herself, more competent and needed in the slow minutes she spent with the plumber than in years with her husband which proves how her husband is not a person who is good with her and the plumber is.
Many of the reasons to why the astronomer and the plumber are so different is by their work ethics. During the start of the story Mrs. Ames makes excuses for Mr. Ames about why he isn’t helping with the plumbing...
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