Daisy Mae Casey
Since Daisy’s father had been a miner who had struck gold near San Francisco, she “was raised in an atmosphere of gentility”. Although the Caseys are extremely poor, Lily’s mother still work[s] very hard at being a lady” (p. 18, ll. 10 f.).
Matching her maiden name39
, she behaves a little exotically: She never leaves the house without wearing a hat, gloves and a veil40
, which is a little extravagant
in the province of Texas.
Daisy Mae Casey objects to41 hard work
: “The way Mom saw it, women should let menfolk do the work because it made them feel more manly” (p. 19, ll. 14 f.).
In difficult situations, Lily’s mother does not help, but prays instead: when a flash flood hits the Caseys, Lily and the servants become active right away. Lily’s mother, on the other hand, prefers to pray: “We barricaded the door with the rug and started bailing the water out the window. Mom came back and begged us to go pray with her on the hilltop” (p. 13, ll. 12 - 15). When Lily – at the age of only ten – saves her siblings from drowning, her mother is unable to recognize Lily’s performance:
“It was she who had saved us, she declared, by staying up all night praying. You get down on your knees and thank your guardian angel. […] And you thank me, too” (p. 5, ll. 15 - 17).
Although Daisy Mae is quite extravagant concerning the way she dresses, her education methods42
are rather old-fashioned: She admires her son, Buster, and tells him that he can achieve anything he wants to – “a railroad magnate, a cattle baron, a general, or even the governor of Texas” (p. 19, ll. 1 f.). Concerning her daughters, on the other hand, she “worried about things like her daughters catching the right husband” (p. 10, ll. 1 f.). She worries about being able to catch the right husband for Lily, however, since she does not behave like a lady. When Lily is injured with yellow jack fever, Daisy Mae does not come near to her since she is afraid of being injured, too. When Lily has survived it, the only thing Daisy says to her daughter is: “So don’t ever tell anyone you had it. You do, you might have trouble catching a husband” (p. 9, ll. 29 f.).
Daisy Mae Casey’s superficiality43
is revealed, when she says: “A lady’s hair is her crowning glory” (p. 18, l.5). In her opinion, women do not have to be intelligent – but pretty. About Lily, she says:
“I never knew a girl to have such gumption. […] But I’m not too sure that’s a good thing” (p. 19, l. 12 f.)
Her relationship with Lily is ambivalent
. On the on hand, she thinks that Lily is not a real lady, which is prejudicial to her44
: “She feared she might have trouble marrying me off because I didn’t have the makings of a lady” (p. 19, ll. 3 - 5). But on the other hand, she admires her daughter for her intelligence – although she is not sure if that is an advantageously45
Although she does not think that women have to be intelligent to find a husband, she was opposed to taking Lily from school. Her husband, however, asserted himself46
“I wanted you to finish your education. […] It was your father who had to buy those dogs.” (p. 50, ll. 1 f.).
In 1942, Daisy Mae Casey dies because of a blood poisoning47
39Mädchenname: Nachname vor der Hochzeit
41to object to s.th.: etw. ablehnen
44to be prejudicial to s.b.: für jdn. von Nachteil sein
46to assert oneself: sich durchsetzen