Character Analysis of the Elder Mrs. Winning of Flower Garden

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Character Analysis of the Elder Mrs. Winning of Flower Garden

The oppression of tyranny breeds either rebellion or its counterpart, conformity, as was the case for the character Helen Winning in the story "Flower Garden" by Shirley Jackson. The static, intrinsic traits of the Elder Mrs. Winning, which are influential to the outcome of the story, are developed in detail by Jackson's use of description and dramatic scenes. The elder Mrs. Winning is characterized as a woman with an authoritative, domineering personality who is unyielding in her convictions.

The elder Mrs. Winning is a sovereign matriarch in her household. After a morning breakfast, as the two Mrs. Winnings "[linger] over a pot of coffee . . . [sitting]
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Winning's superiority. When Howard, the son of the elder Mrs. Winning , enters the house as he "[comes] in from the barn ," he simply acknowledges his wife, the younger Mrs. Winning, with a "nod"; in contrast, he more affectionately "[kisses] his mother" (496). By including this detail about the distinct ways the two women are treated by Howard Winning in her description, Jackson illustrates the premiership the elder Mrs. Winning occupies in her household. Moreover, Jackson describes how Helen Winning "[tried] to anticipate her mother-in-law's gesture of serving" (496) which indicates further the preponderant and overruling qualities of the elder Mrs. Winning.

The elder Mrs. Winning is a nightmarishly overbearing mother-in-law. The opening paragraph is a base for understanding the forcibleness of the elder Mrs. Winning's character. Jackson recounts that, "After living . . . together . . . the two . . . had grown to look a good deal alike, as two women will who live intimately together, and get things done around the house in the same manner" (490). By providing this description Jackson discloses the profound extent of the influence that the elder Mrs. Winning has had on the identity of her daughter-in-law. The elder Mrs. Winning is so overpowering that Helen has methodically adopted her lifestyle and has even gained her looks. The high-handedness of the elder Mrs. Winning is first made evident when Jackson describes that the younger Mrs. Winning has invited her
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