Theme Analysis

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Theme Analysis
The Transformative Power of Breaking Conventions and Habits
Throughout Homecoming, characters either struggle against societal roles, or they break conventions and roles, resulting in relief, understanding, personal advantage, or growth. Dicey lives outside of conventional gender roles: she is a fighter so ferocious that none of her peers dare to fight her. At the very opening of the book, she plays into a policeman's assumption that she is a boy, taking advantage of her unconventional appearance and gaining less persistent attention than she would if he thought she were a girl. Eunice, on the other hand, clings to her habits, and the children's presence in her life upsets those habits greatly. Eunice's primary desire had been to become a nun (which would allow her literally to cloak herself in a habit) and subject herself to a set of religious conventions. Her decision to take the children in, however, is no less born of a sense of her duty than her desire to be a nun. The children see Eunice for what she is—a small and judgmental woman with a constricted view of people who do not fit into her value scheme. Eunice is bound and limited by her adherence to others' expectations of her. In a way, Gram is also bound by conventions and habits. She stood by her husband, according to her marriage vow, even when she found him to be cruel and unbending. Her refusal to forgive herself for the failure and the reluctance of her children, into her life, also suggest that she adheres to her own assumptions about herself and what she is like. Gram experiences perhaps the greatest emotional transformation in the novel when she gives up her notions about her desires and capabilities and allows her love and growing sense of connection to the children to wash away some of her stubbornness. Work Cited
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