The short story “A Trio for Four Voices” by Jane McLaughlin focuses on the relationships between several characters – the real ones, as well as the relationships imagined by the narrator from what she observes of Amelia’s game.
The relationship between Amelia and her father
This relationship appears to be very close. Amelia and her father play croquet together, and when Amelia’s mother goes to a painting workshop in another town (l. 87), Amelia stays at the hotel with her father. The narrator watches them “side by side, holding hands, skipping sometimes over roots or loose rocks” (ll. 78-79). This shows that the two enjoy spending time together. Amelia’s father is also very indulgent, allowing Amelia to call him an idiot, and also playing along when he discovers her most recent prank.
The relationship between Amelia and her mother
Our first impression of this relationship comes from what Amelia tells the narrator. Amelia claims that she hates her mother and wants to kill her (l. 40). She also calls her mother “a wicked witch” (l. 51). The relationship, therefore, appears very strained and could point to a conflict between Amelia and her mother.
In truth, the relationship between Amelia and her mother is actually a good one. Like Amelia’s father, her mother also plays along, ...