Essay for The Usual Rules by Joyce Maynard

795 Words Nov 26th, 2014 4 Pages
Wendy’s Relationships in The Usual Rules
In the novel The Usual Rules by Joyce Maynard, Wendy is faced with many questions following her mother’s death. She is faced with self-actualizing and becoming independent as well as self-sufficient without the aid of a strong maternal or paternal figure. Following the aftermath of 9/11, instead of responding to the events in an emotionally selfish way, Wendy attempts to fill the void left by her mother by nurturing and caring for Louie in Josh’s absence. The largest factor in Wendy’s change in behavior is the effect of the relationships she makes whilst living in California.
When Wendy goes to California, she tries to begin a new life by taking advantage of her clean slate, and thus lies to the
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Another unlikely influence in Wendy’s life is Carolyn; Wendy’s father’s girlfriend. Carolyn shows Wendy how to be resilient and stand tall in the wake of misfortune. From the visit of her son that went array to the collapse of the cacti business she had worked so hard for, Carolyn chalks these events up to experience and moves on. While Wendy by no means sulks following her mother’s death, Carolyn is there to reason with Wendy and help her come to terms with what has happened. Carolyn, as a maternal figure shows Wendy how to be an unwavering, strong woman. Carolyn’s independence and freedom inspire her in more ways than one. While it can easily be overlooked, it is also important to note that Carolyn is the character that persuades Garrett to let Wendy enrich herself beyond the confines of a traditional school setting.
It becomes readily apparent that Violet is a foil character for Janet, Wendy’s mother. While Janet and Violet both become pregnant from a young age, that is where the similarities come to an end. While Violet is utterly confused as to raising a child, and at times folds under pressure and resorts to physical abuse when dealing with her son, Janet took the gift she was given and

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