The characters of Yonnondio seem strangely static to me. After the scare when Mazie is almost murdered, there is no progression in the development of characters. Mazie and Will and Jimmie and Ben are stuck in time, unable to mature, stuck in a ceaseless rut of shirking and arguing and crying, in shame of their lack of wealth and desires for things unattainable. For all the years that pass, none of them shows signs of aging other than questionable portrayals of Mazie and Will becoming ever so slightly more intractable.
Even the parents show the same immutability: The mother argues ceaselessly with her husband over money, but both use it to their own ends. Anna remains victim to her constant desire for control, spending her days endlessly sweeping and mopping and canning and whining about education, her end all cure all for their lowest class subsistence although she herself seems to have already obtained the education she desires for her children yet cannot overcome her miserable existence.
The father, on the other hand, is doomed to repeat the same problems – he will work, he will be startled into action by something uncontrollable (the attempted murder, the loss of the farm, the near death of Anna), but these attempts are all abortive. In the end he is becomes a caricature, endlessly suffering from revelation and backsliding into alcoholism and abuse and rape of his wife.
Does this lack of progress signify anything, or is it simply mere lack of skill on the author’s part?