A review of the book “Housekeeping” by Marilynne Robinson.

The paper analyzes the book “Housekeeping” by Marilynne Robinson, set in Idaho during the mid 1900s. It is not only a study of a women, the times and loss, but also highlights some of the beautiful natural areas where the novel is set, on the shores of Fingerbone Lake. It discusses how the two sisters Ruth and Lucille begin to be distinguished from each other somewhere in the middle of the book and identifies the point at which this differentiation occurs. The paper also describes the differences in personality and behavior that emerges between them and explains how we as readers, are supposed to interpret these differences.
“Lucille leaves the family to live with the “sensible” home economics teacher, while Ruth stays with Sylvie, a woman least known for her housekeeping, but always known for her itch to travel. Here the reader really begins to take sides, just as Robinson was intending. Lucille is “taken over” by the other side, the side that does not approve of lifestyles like Sylvie’s, and the two sisters are now on opposite sides of the fence, and so is the reader. Lucille becomes less and less appealing, and less important in the book, and in the reader’s mind, but not completely. “Robinson plays the perfect mother, refusing to abandon Lucille, and her departure remains a real loss for the characters of the novel, who forgive and regret and search.” ”