“Street of Riches”:
Interpreting family relationships in a family environment
Name: Oreri Towuru
Tutor: Allison Kydd
12th May, 2007
Conflicts in family relationships are part of human experience. In “Street of Riches”, Gabrielle Roy uses tensions among family members and outsiders to reveal the personality traits embedded in family members as well as outsiders. Although family tensions and differences are prevalent in “Street of Riches”, Characters’ act of tolerance serves as a medium through which family conflicts and differences are resolved.
Roy creates a female protagonist who epitomizes tolerance. In “Alicia”, Christine speaks of a family member who is plagued with a psychological disorder and subsequently forced into isolation. Although Alicia’s bizarre behaviour is quite disturbing and embarrassing to Maman and family friends, Christine willingly accepts her sister’s odd personality. Christine reveals her compassionate nature when she prefers “to keep Alicia, unhappy, than see her die” (Roy 90). Moreover, she vows to defend Alicia when she becomes aware of the fact that Maman wants her dead. Christine states: “I’ll defend Alicia. I won’t let them do her any harm” (Roy 90). Furthermore, as time passes by, Papa comes to realize that “if anyone can still do anything, it’s surely [Christen] [and] only she can work the miracle” (Roy 91). There is no doubt that Alicia’s illness creates family tension and divisiveness. However, Papa attests to the fact that Christine is capable of restoring and healing their broken family. A reunion between Christine and Alicia suggests that Christine’s sympathetic and tolerant nature helps mend her once severed relationship.
While the story of “Alicia” reveals discord among family members, the story of “Wilhelm” depicts family tensions that occur as a result of cultural differences. Roy...