The Hired Girl Part 7 Summary

September 29, 1912, a year after the events of Part Six have taken place, Joan is still working for Anna and the Rosenbach family. She is still angry with Mimi for reading her diary, but Mimi remains unrepentant. In fact, Mimi has bought Joan a blank book so she can start a new diary. Joan does not think she will start another diary, because of all the turmoil she experienced from having her diary read by Mimi. She feels as though she were exposed, as if she now has to write for the future reader and not for herself. She just does not know if she is ready to have the burden of writing for others yet.

Mr. Rosenbach did have Joan write to her father so that he would know she is safe and cared for. Her father after three months did write her back, but it was in his usual caustic manner. He informed her of the marriage of her brother Mark, explaining that Mark's wife is keeping the house for the men and doing all the work Joan used to do. He also told her if she, "wanted to live with a pack of dirty Jews, it was all right with him, only I'd better not think I could come sashaying home when it suited me." Joan felt since her father could never be bothered to wash his neck, he was in no position to call anyone dirty. Mr. Rosenbach did read the letter Joan's father wrote her and was surprised to see how mean he was towards her.

Joan was now able to communicate with Miss Chandler, who had her own set of prejudices. She was worried the Rosenbachs might be trying to convert Joan to the Jewish faith. Joan sent her a copy of Daniel Deronda in the hopes of showing her the goodness of the Jewish people.

The most important news for Joan is the start of her schooling the next day, September 30, 1912. She and Mimi are both attending the school Mr. Rosenbach and his friends started. Mrs. Rosenbach and Anna took Joan and Mimi shopping for some new school clothes. They bought shoes, jumper suits, and other clothes for the coming school year. Joan is excited to be studying a variety of subjects such as Algebra, Latin, and Creative Expression. She is also awed by the beauty of the building in which the school is located. It used to be a mansion, so it has plenty of windows and a grand staircase. This is quite different from the school she attended while living with her father.

The other exciting event in Joan's life was her confirmation, she can now partake of the Sacrament. She feels that she is now a true Catholic and this makes her happy to be religious. Although, now that she is finally confirmed she is not as motivated to attend Sunday services and oversleeps on Sunday mornings.

Solomon has married Ruth, then they moved to New York so he can attend yeshiva and become a scholar. Joan still thinks of David often, but her affection for him is fading. He continues to study painting in Paris and sends her postcards. They are the same postcards he sends his sister, so she knows he does not have feelings for her beyond friendship.

She and Anna's family went for a vacation to Atlantic City in the summertime. Joan was amazed by the vastness of the ocean. It made her realize how big the world is and how much she wants to explore it. She is glad she will have the opportunity to be in charge of her own fate and not be at the mercy of her father's wishes.

Mr. Rosenbach is making sure Joan studies philosophy by having her read Socratic dialogues. She enjoys the books, but became tired of Socrates always winning the debates. She decided the only way she would win a debate with Socrates was to write her own dialogue, which she did. She decided to teach him about true love and ended the piece by having Socrates agree with her position. Mr. Rosenbach thought the piece was very funny.

Joan ends the book by speculating what her eventual career might be. She wondered if she would become a teacher, as her mother had hoped, or maybe a writer of either novels or newspaper articles. In the end, she is happy to finally be able to fulfill her mother's wish of her being an educated lady.

It is a year after the night she was found in David's room and Joan is about to start school. She is grateful for the opportunity the Rosenbach family has given her. She has stayed true to her Catholic faith while learning to understand and appreciate the Jewish faith; this is a feat few people of her time are capable of. Joan has reached a point in her life where she sees the future is hers to take ahold of, to go in whatever direction she feels is the most compelling for her.



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