Ruby Lamar

Text: 
Display Name: 
Ruby Lamar
Sort Name: 
Lamar, Ruby
AKA: 
Mrs. Lee Goodwin
Race: 
White
Gender: 
Female
Class: 
Lower Class
Rank: 
Major
Vitality: 
Alive
Biography: 

A former Memphis prostitute, Ruby appears in the novel as the devoted common-law wife of Lee Goodwin and conscientious mother of their very young child. Earlier she moved to San Francisco and New York to wait for Lee while he was serving overseas, and when he is sentenced to prison for killing fellow U.S. soldier in a fight over another woman, she not only moves to Leavenworth to be near him, but hires a lawyer for him, using her body as payment. When Lee is arrested for killing Tommy, she is prepared to pay Horace the same way. Though jealousy is one of her motives, as the only woman at the Old Frenchman place she tries to protect Temple from the men who desire her. Ruby is portrayed as much better than the various women of Jefferson who condemn and ostracize her. Her last name is not definitively "Lamar." Popeye calls her "Ruby Lamar" once (10), but since Lamar Avenue is a major street in Memphis, where she once worked as a "street-walker" (117), it may be a pseudonym. When she calls the Sheriff she identifies herself as "Mrs Goodwin" (105), though she and Lee almost certainly never married. Curiously, the narrative seldom uses even her first name, but rather refers to her as "the woman." One time she even identifies herself that way (164).

Individual or Group: 
Individual

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