The Transformation of Amy Foster
In Joseph Conrad's short story "Amy Foster," Amy, at first, seems to be a very passive, simple minded and introverted girl. As the story progresses, Amy begins to show that she has the imagination to fall in love, but towards the end, the imagination isn't enough to stop the fear that kills that love.
All through Amy's character development, Conrad eludes to how Amy may not be as simple minded as one might believe. In the beginning of the story, Kennedy describes Amy as "very passive"' but with "enough imagination to fall in love"' (2). He gives a clear picture of Amy when he tells about how kind she is to animals, but also how she panics when Mrs. Smith's parrot is attacked by the family cat. He says that, for Mrs. Smith, "this was another evidence of her stupidity,"' but he also talks about how her imagination gives her a kind heart. Kennedy says that "the only peculiarity I perceived in her was a slight hesitation in her utterance, a sort of preliminary stammer which passes away with the first word"' (2). Conrad suggests that Amy is a much deeper character than what Kennedy is first describing. Kennedy tells several stories of Amy's day to day life, and in each one, he refers to Amy's imagination being the cornerstone of her ability to fall in love. At the same time, each story shows another level of Amy, again, indicating that Amy has many more layers than what Kennedy first indicates.
As Kennedy describes Yanko and how he finds himself in the village, he also shows Amy beginning to come out of her shell. He tells about the morning after Yanko comes to the Smith's and how Amy loses sleep thinking of Yanko. Without the fear the other town's people are showing, she takes Yanko bread and is also able to see the attractive man under the filth he has accumulated during his voyage (8-9). The passive and obedient girl from the beginning of the story starts to fade as Amy and Yanko's...
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