Critical Lens

Topics: Truman Capote, Capote, In Cold Blood Pages: 1 (374 words) Published: February 24, 2014
Ramya Gopalakrishnan
In the play Antigone by Sophocles, the character Teiresias observes “Think: all men make mistakes, but a good man yields when he knows his course is wrong, and repairs the evil: the only crime is pride.” This quote can be interpreted as; even good people make mistakes, but what actually defines them as good is realizing they were wrong and fixing it. Their true mistake is letting their ego hold them back from doing so. Characterizing Charlotte Phelan from The Help by Kathryn Stockett,will support the validity of the quote, whereas examples of Perry Smith, from In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, disproves it.

Ms.Phelan is portrayed as a proud white mother who couldn’t even stand up for her maid Constantine, a long time servant of the family, who was being treated unfairly by the other wealthy stuck up guests in the house. Constantine had raised Skeeter, Ms.Phelan’s daughter, since infancy and developed an intimate bond that was evident to anyone who observed. When Skeeter was bullied for her looks and had a hard time with friends, Constantine was the one consoling her, not her own mother. Skeeter continued writing to her throughout college, and when she returned expecting to see Constantine after 4 years, Ms.Phelan said she had left for family in Chicago. This was a lie since she knew Skeeter’s reaction to the truth would be an outburst. Constantine was in fact fired because her daughter, Lula, was white, and Ms.Phelan didn’t want a white daughter to come visit the colored maid. The situation looked odd to the women who were there for a meeting, and Lula wasn’t willing to leave without seeing her mother. Ms.Phelan couldn’t say anything to support Constantine, since the women were questioning her authority over the maid. After she was fired, Ms.Phelan realized her mistake and tried to fix it by making her son search for Constantine in Chicago, only to find out she had recently died. Ms.Phelan was too proud of a woman to...
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