This short story, The Doll,” is about poor, out-of-work Okies in the early 1930s looking for any type of job they can find so they can get paid or something to eat. Mrs. Hollis and the two Okies are the main characters in the story. The story tells about these Okies asking for work from a well-off woman, Mrs. Hollis, and how she treats them.
In spite of her willingness to help them, she eventually sends them away after meager payment and food. The story starts off as two ragged boys walk up Mrs. Hollis’ lawn, coming from the camp where poor, out-of-work families live. They were two okies” looking for a job to get some food. Mrs. Hollis is disgusted by all the dirt and ragged clothes they’re wearing.
Mrs. Hollis gives the Okies some work to do in exchange for food. One of the boys points to the other and tells Mrs. Hollis that he is his uncle. He is a short man in his 40s.
His hands reminded Mrs. Hollis of an old wedding doll she used to have years ago. She was still disgusted at his ragged image. As she fixed some sandwiches and coffee for them, she gave them one of her chocolate cherries in a red shiny wrapper. They had only had one of those once in their whole lifetime and were very excited.
Hollis was taking her afternoon nap when she was awoken by a knock on the door. She went to look, and sure enough, it was the two individuals asking if they could use her bathroom. She got angry and told them to finish their work and leave, then slammed the door. Later, she came out to tell them that they had done enough for the day because it was getting hotter. They didn’t finish their work, but she still gave them a dollar.
One of them grinned while snatching the dollar from her hand. She asked why he was grinning like that. He pointed to his uncle and said he was pissing in his pants.” Mrs. Hollis saw a puddle forming on her patio and, in disgust, ran to her bathroom and threw up. My impression of this story is that it refers to right after the Great Depression. I can picture these two Okies walking up to her door and asking for a job around 1930.
I would be a little disgusted by all the dirt and ragged, smelly clothes they’re wearing, but mainly I would feel sorry for them. I would offer to pay them to do some chores for me and provide them with food while they’re working. However, I wouldn’t allow them to use my bathroom or enter my house at all since they are complete strangers.
I would simply point to a tree away from the house. When Mrs. Hollis gave them the chocolate cherry in a red wrapper, I think it resembled all of the things that poor people couldn’t get. I think Mrs.
Hollis gave them a dollar because she felt sorry for them. She sent them home without finishing the job because she wanted them to leave before her Bridge Club came over, so she wouldn’t be embarrassed by their presence.