I for Isobel

by

Amy Witting

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Isobel and Margaret’s wealthy Aunt Noelene is welcome presence in the girls’ lives due to the monetary gifts and hand-me-downs from her clothing factory that she brings along on each visit—something that aggravates May. After May’s death, Noelene is kind to Isobel and generous with the great wealth she has managed to “tame” over the years. She pays for Isobel to live in the boarding house and take classes in typing and shorthand, and she attempts to offer her niece advice about the ruthlessness of the world and the need to grab life by the horns to achieve success.

Aunt Noelene Quotes in I for Isobel

The I for Isobel quotes below are all either spoken by Aunt Noelene or refer to Aunt Noelene. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Mothers, Daughters, and Self-Discovery Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Text Publishing edition of I for Isobel published in 1989.
Chapter 3 Quotes

“Take that dress off, Margaret,” said their mother from the doorway. “It belongs to Isobel.”

“But Isobel said I could have it.”

Isobel said, “Aunt Noelene will never know.”

Her mother gave her a look of hate as she walked

towards Margaret, who did not know what was happening and stood like a good little girl having a dress fitted till she heard the dull snap of threads and the tearing noise. She cried out then as if she had been hit.

“Damn you,” screamed Isobel. “Damn you, damn you, it was mine. It wasn't yours to tear. It was mine and I gave it to Margaret. Damn you!”

She saw the look of peace and relief on her mother's face as she walked away and she knew what she had done. The old sick closeness was back and she was the same old Isobel.

Margaret was sitting on her bed dressed in her slip, stroking the torn yoke and sobbing.

“It's only a dress,” said Isobel. She had lost more.

“Oh, you shut up. You didn't want it, anyhow.”

It wasn't only a dress. It was much more, and it was gone, and so was the state of grace.

At that moment, Isobel thought such things were not for either of them.

Related Characters: Isobel Callaghan (speaker), Mrs. May Callaghan (speaker), Margaret Callaghan (speaker), Aunt Noelene
Page Number: 38
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 4 Quotes

“When do you plan to be married, Rita?”

“In September. We don't want a long engagement. Stephen's firm are sending him to Melbourne and we want to be married and go together.”

Isobel heard this with dismay. This was the opportunity Aunt Noelene would expect her to grasp, seizing that wild horse money by the bridle as it passed. She lacked courage for the deed. If she did manage it, she would have to take dictation from Mr. Walter instead of checking invoices with Frank. This was life: no sooner had you built yourself your little raft and felt secure than it came to pieces under you and you were swimming again.

Related Characters: Olive (speaker), Rita (speaker), Isobel Callaghan, Aunt Noelene, Frank, Mr. Walter
Page Number: 86
Explanation and Analysis:
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I for Isobel PDF

Aunt Noelene Character Timeline in I for Isobel

The timeline below shows where the character Aunt Noelene appears in I for Isobel. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3: The Grace of God and the Hand-Me-Down
Mothers, Daughters, and Self-Discovery Theme Icon
Poverty, Abuse, and Violence Theme Icon
One afternoon, Isobel and Margaret come home from school to see their Aunt Noelene’s car parked in the drive. The girls are excited—every time she visits, she gives them... (full context)
Mothers, Daughters, and Self-Discovery Theme Icon
Poverty, Abuse, and Violence Theme Icon
...kitchen table, and Mrs. Callaghan looks cheerful for the first time since Margaret’s “desertion.” Aunt Noelene is dressed beautifully, and asks the girls how they’re doing in school. They notice that... (full context)
Mothers, Daughters, and Self-Discovery Theme Icon
Poverty, Abuse, and Violence Theme Icon
...Yvonne sent back five pounds toward a holiday rather than invite them to come stay. Noelene begs Mrs. Callaghan to drop the matter, buts Mrs. Callaghan reminds Noelene that she didn’t... (full context)
Mothers, Daughters, and Self-Discovery Theme Icon
Poverty, Abuse, and Violence Theme Icon
Noelene reaches into her handbag and takes out two ten-shilling notes. She places them on the... (full context)
Chapter 4: Glassware and Other Breakable Items
Mothers, Daughters, and Self-Discovery Theme Icon
Aunt Yvonne and Aunt Noelene are in the kitchen, talking about what Margaret and Isobel will wear to their mother’s... (full context)
Mothers, Daughters, and Self-Discovery Theme Icon
Poverty, Abuse, and Violence Theme Icon
Storytelling, Fiction, Narrative, and Escape Theme Icon
Transience and The Search For Belonging Theme Icon
Isobel is packing her books up into a box which will be stored at Aunt Noelene’s—she is sad to be parting with them. As Isobel thinks about her mother’s death, she... (full context)
Mothers, Daughters, and Self-Discovery Theme Icon
Poverty, Abuse, and Violence Theme Icon
Transience and The Search For Belonging Theme Icon
Back at the house, Aunt Yvonne and Aunt Noelene discuss with Margaret and Isobel what the girls are going to do. Isobel has a... (full context)
Mothers, Daughters, and Self-Discovery Theme Icon
Poverty, Abuse, and Violence Theme Icon
Transience and The Search For Belonging Theme Icon
...for the week, and as the two say an awkward goodbye, Yvonne tells Isobel that Noelene will soon be in touch about the money from the furniture. Margaret bids Isobel goodbye,... (full context)
Transience and The Search For Belonging Theme Icon
...out and buy a dictionary at her lunch break—Isobel has a little money from Aunt Noelene. (full context)
Poverty, Abuse, and Violence Theme Icon
Transience and The Search For Belonging Theme Icon
Isobel visits Aunt Noelene, and the two discuss Isobel’s finances. Aunt Noelene offers to pay for Isobel to take... (full context)
Transience and The Search For Belonging Theme Icon
Noelene fears that Isobel has started off on the wrong foot at her company and is... (full context)
Transience and The Search For Belonging Theme Icon
Aunt Noelene takes a phone call, and Isobel sits alone in the kitchen, marveling at how her... (full context)
Transience and The Search For Belonging Theme Icon
...want to move to Melbourne together. Isobel hears this news “with dismay,” knowing that Aunt Noelene will expect her to seize the moment of Rita’s departure and wrangle more pay from... (full context)