How can I judge such a “perfect woman”?

Kitty initially symbolizing high class, grace, and pure beauty would cause me to think quite highly of her. However, this perfection is quickly undone by the return of her soldier and dementia ridden husband, Chris. My sympathy for her turns to judgment as a result of her response to his return. Firstly, West sets the foundation for Kitty’s character up by utilizing Kitty’s outward appearance through Jenny’s narration; “I saw that golden hair was all about her shoulders and that she wore over her frock a little silken jacket trimmed with rosebuds. She looked so like a girl on a magazine cover that one expected to find a large “7d.” somewhere attached to her person” (Page 48). The change of appearance that will result from Chris’ return will demonstrate the identity crisis Kitty undergoes, transforming her from a “angel in the house” to a woman enveloped by childish tendencies and a jealousy that turns her beauty into ugliness. Instead of reuniting with her war torn husband with patience and loving him like a wife of 10 years would reasonably do, she further attempts to exude perfection around him. She is concerned with her social status, and the appearance she gives off to the world. Her obsession with her social status is first evident when Margaret Grey comes to visit.

Furthermore and more significant in my rationale for lacking sympathy for Kitty, after Chris comes home, her reaction is to impress him with her appearance in order to make him fall in love with her and out of love with Margaret. She puts her wedding dress on before their first dinner together, adorned with jewels and perfected hair. However, her image comes off as more peculiar than beautiful. Jenny describes her as looking “cold as moonlight, as virginity, but precious; the falling candlelight struck her hair to bright, pure gold” (Page 66). Kitty thinks that her beauty will make Chris remember his former perfect life with her. However, his love for Margaret is too strong and Kitty’s beauty does not help her. Chris’ “shellshock” has unraveled her identity and life. When she goes up to bed, Jenny describes her as “a child who hasn’t enjoyed a party as much as she though she would” (Page 70). Kitty has become childish because she is frustrated that her life is out of her hands and her idealistic world is now gone. 

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