Thoughts

The thoughts of the point of view character can reveal an enormous amount about her—including things she may not know herself. Look again at that backfill in Jane's point of view:

You couldn't say this was the first time Martha had pulled this stunt, Jane thought as she picked up the magazines Sam had thrown at her. Martha had her father's tem per. The least little thing and off she'd go, with no more thought for other people than a cat had. No, less—at least a cat came home to eat. At eleven years old Martha had been picked up by the police, eating from a dumpster because Jane had yelled at her about her messy bedroom. The cop had been suspicious, suspecting some sticky form of child abuse. Jane had been horrified. Martha had just gazed at them both levelly, that cold-eyed squint it seemed she'd been born with, and what could Jane do? Martha only acted like she did to hurt her mother. Jane had known then she'd be defeated by this heartbreaking, mean-eyed child. As defeated as if Martha was some throwback to her great-granddaddy's tainted blood, which in Jane's opinion she was.

Jane's thoughts here, in addition to supplying background information on this family, reveal her character. Jane thinks she's a victim ("Martha only acted like she did to hurt her mother") of a biological accident ("her great-granddaddy's tainted blood"), completely innocent. We readers, however, see a woman who takes no responsibility for her daughter's behavior, shows no compassion for Martha's adolescent problems, and perceives herself at the center of everybody else's universe.

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