Mother-in-Law

Mother-in-Law

She is the mother to Jussup and becomes mother-in-law to Grusha after the two get married. She can also be described as:

  • Materialistic / greedy

She agrees to be paid 400 piasters to allow Grusha to marry her son. When she realizes that Grusha has a child, she decides to increase the amount by 200 piasters. She says, ‘My Jussup doesn’t have to marry a girl with child…alright, make it another 200 piasters.” (p.30)

Even after receiving 600 piasters from Lavrenti, she goes on to look for the cheapest Monk to conduct the wedding instead of hiring a Priest. She does this because she’s greedy and wants to save most of that money. Lavrenti says, “She saved on the priest, the wretch! Hired a cheap monk.” (p.50)

  • Opportunistic

She is opportunistic when she takes her son’s illness as a chance for her to make money. “The son of this peasant woman is going to die…how much does the peasant woman want? Four hundred piasters.” (p.49)

  • Pretentious / liar

She pretends that Grusha is Jussup’s bride who has come from the city. She tells the guests, “My son’s bride has just arrived from the city. An emergency wedding is about to be celebrated.” (p.51)

She’s also not happy about the high number of guests. She says to the Monk, “I might have known you couldn’t keep your trap shut.” (p.51)

She also tells lies to the monk that Grusha has no child. She says, ‘Is there a child? I don’t see a child…you understand? Or it may turn out I saw all sorts of things at the tavern.” (p.52)

Role

The mother-in-law is important in:

  • Plot development – she agrees to have her son getting married to Grusha and is pivotal to the success of the wedding.
  • Character development – she contributes to the development of characters like: Jussup, Grusha, Lavrenti and the Monk.
  • Theme development – she helps to develop themes such as: materialism, greed and societal decadence.
  • Style development – she contributes to development of literary styles such as: irony since she does not know that her son is pretending to be sick and yet she lives with him and humour when she gets a drunk monk to conduct the wedding.

YOUR TASK:

  • Identify and illustrate the character traits of Jussup.
  • Explain the role Jussup plays in the text.

Next character: Grusha Vashnadze

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