The Dodson Sisters
Mrs. Glegg, Mrs. Pullet, Mrs. Deane, and Mrs. Tulliver are recognizably members of the same family, even without their own constant reminders of that fact. All of them give allegiance to the same code for living, a code based on respect for property and strict maintenance of tradition. But each of the four has personal traits which mark her out from the others. With Mrs. Pullet it is her extreme care for personal possessions and her mild hypochondria and interest in the diseases of other persons. Mrs. Tulliver has the same attitude toward her personal treasures coupled with greater-than-ordinary stupidity. Hers is a mind which runs on a single track. Mrs. Deane is less definitely characterized, but commands respect through the superior wealth and position of her husband. Mrs. Glegg is the one most interested in property, but she pays little attention to her personal goods. Her mind runs more to cash. She is by far the most strict in her observance of the traditional rites and customs. She sets the standards for the rest of the family, who follow as best they can. She is an arrogant woman, but not without virtues of her own. Her shrewdness is always put to good use; and she is the only one, in the end, to whom kinship remains more important than the opinions of society. If she represents the Dodson code at its worst — egoistic, grasping, and uncharitable — she epitomizes the best side as well.
The Dodson code is slightly exaggerated for comic effect. Yet all the sisters remain human; they are not caricatures. The code which underlies their actions presents a standard of human conduct. However erroneous it may seem at times, it nevertheless offers a consistent and believable reference point for the actions of that side of Maggie's family.