The Doll Essay, Research Paper
This short story, “The Doll” is about poor out of work okies back in the early 1930’s
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 will 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 at all of the dirt and ragged clothes they’re wearing. Mrs. Hollis gives the
okies some work to do in exchange for some food. One of the boys points to the other and tells
Mrs. Hollis that he is his uncle. He was a short man in his 40’s. 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 have only had one of those once in their whole lifetime and were very
While Mrs. Hollis was taking her afternoon nap, she was awoken by a knock on the door.
She went and looked, and sure enough it was the two “okies” again asking if they could go piss in
her bathroom. She got mad and told them to finish their work and leave, then slammed the door.
She came out later to tell them that’s enough for the day because it’s getting hotter. They
didn’t get their work done, 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 he
was “pissing in his pants.” Mrs Hollis saw a puddle forming on her patio and in disgust she ran to
her bathroom and threw up everywhere.
My impression of this story is it is referring to right after the Great Depression. I can
picture back around 1930 these two okies walking up to her door and asking her for a job. I
would be a little disgusted from all the dirt and the ragged smelly clothes on them, but I would
mainly feel sorry for the two. I would pay them to do some chores for me. I would supply them
with food while they were there, and pay them when they were done. I wouldn’t let them use my
bathroom though. I wouldn’t want them to enter my house at all, because they are complete
strangers. I would just simply point to a tree away from the house. When Mrs. Hollis gave them
the chocolate cherry in a red wrapper, I think it resembles all of the things 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.
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