Ruth is the narrator's mother in Joanne C. Hillhouse's short story "The Other Daughter". Ruth lives in a neighbourhood for immigrants (l. 7) and works in a whorehouse on Popeshead Street (l. 1). Her dialogue suggests that she speaks with a local dialect, as it does not always follow the rules of standard English: “Tell Hughbert he forget he boxer shorts” (l. 59-60). She is a prostitute (l. 6), but the narrator implies that she had a very different social status at some point during her life: “I didn’t know then that they were proof of how far she’d fallen” (ll. 8-9). We also learn that Ruth hated the life she lived (l. 15).
Her outer characterisation usually includes references to her large breasts and the way she smelled: “her buxomly shape and flowery scent of her was as familiar as ever” (ll. 62-63).
Ruth’s inner characterisation is mostly constructed through the narrator’s words but also through Ruth’s language and actions.
We first learn that Ruth does not seem to get along with her neighbours, a...