Character Analysis Lena Grove


Lena Grove is presented as a simple, uncomplicated country person who has great strength and an abundance of determination. Her approach to life is quite simple. She never tries to deceive people about her marital status and willingly accepts help from other people and is not offended when someone morally disapproves of her behavior.

Her responses to life are the simple and basic reactions founded on a simple philosophy of charity and hope. She receives help and food from other people, but when she has something of her own to eat, she is always "obliged" if others would share her meager meal with her.

Lena possesses an earthy nature which allows her to respond to all events of life with a quiet relish and enjoyment. She seems to enjoy sitting and watching the countryside float by. She savors every bite of her simple can of sardines and in general she seems to represent those qualities which will endure forever.

She is furthermore used to open and close the novel, offering to us a positive ending after the terrible tragedy of Joe Christmas. She is the outside frame for the entire novel and the outside frame of the wheel (circle) which traverses all experience and centers on no particular or special experience.

Her nature is one that allows her to commune with other people. Her desire to share her experience with others often leads her to confess her situation rather than being silent about it. And even though she will rely upon the kindness of strangers, her strength is that she blames no one for her predicament. She accepts complete responsibility for her acts. Lena, therefore, brings with her the potential salvation and redemption of Byron Bunch and the Reverend Gail Hightower by evoking from them responses for good and forcing them to become involved in responsibility.

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