Ruby Pitt Woodrow in A Virtuous Woman by Kaye Gibbons

Essay by dukie4life13High School, 10th gradeA+, June 2004

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Major events in one's life often play an important role in defining character, values, and beliefs. These same events serve to determine the mold of a person, essentially what they are made of. They act as a window to the soul; through this window, heroes are discovered. In the novel A Virtuous Woman by Kaye Gibbons, the character Ruby Pitt Woodrow functions as a classic hero who faces numerous hardships. Throughout her life, Ruby has struggled to overcome opposition not only with her family and friends, but also within herself. Despite all her struggles, Ruby's character progresses from a delicate girl to a resilient, young woman who grows as a result of her sheltered childhood, her abusive first marriage, and the life-shattering effects of her cancer.

Parents frequently appear to be under the false impression that if they "shield" their children from the evils of the world, they will remain unscathed and untainted.

However, more often than not, the children develop much larger issues that way than if left to experience life in its entirety. This occurs especially in Ruby's case; her parents "protect" her to the point that she evolves into the stereotypical helpless female, dependent on everyone but herself. Ultimately the damage to Ruby causes her to be trapped in a dysfunctional first marriage, in which she suffers physical abuse as well as emotional and mental. Also, she acquires a skewed point of view on life from her sheltered childhood; she believes that all people posses a good soul. This theory only serves to create more problems for Ruby, when she lets people take advantage of her. It also contributes to prolonging her abusive marriage, as she tries desperately to find the kindness within her first husband. However, after years of mistreatment, Ruby discovers a force of...