Unnamed "Good Women in Jefferson"

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Unnamed "Good Women in Jefferson"
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Unnamed "Good Women in Jefferson"
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At the beginning of "Uncle Willy" the narrator identifies "the good women in Jefferson" as the people who are to blame for "driving Uncle Willy out of town," and thus for the narrator's own choice to follow him (225). The crusade against Willy's behavior is led by two particular women, Mrs. Merridew and Mrs. Hovis, yet at points the narrative seems to see the town's "good women" and the town's 'white' women as essentially synonymous. Three women (whom the narrator calls "ladies") appear in the story, working with Merridew and Schultz to wean Willy from his vices (230); according to the narrator's description of the way these three address Willy - as "Mr. Christian [or] Uncle Willy [or] Willy"- they are of different ages and are not all originally from town (230). These reform-minded women are referred to again in The Town, where Charles calls them "the church ladies" (163).