I for Isobel

Mrs. Adams Character Analysis

Isobel’s childhood neighbor. Isobel once wrote a poem about Mrs. Adams’s cat, Smoke, which was published in the local paper. The poem referred to Mrs. Adams by name, and after the poem’s publication, May and Robert warned her that Mrs. Adams would hate Isobel and try to send her for jail for putting her name in the paper. When Isobel visits her hometown as a young woman, she meets Mrs. Adams in the street and goes into her house for tea. Mrs. Adams reveals that she was deeply touched by the poem—she has kept it in a photo album all these years. She reveals that when Isobel was a little girl, Mrs. Adams would often try to flag her down on the street in order to gift her with a notebook in which she could write down her poems. This conversation makes Isobel realize how deeply her parents ruined her childhood, but the encounter also spurs Isobel to accept that she is, and always has been, a writer.

Mrs. Adams Quotes in I for Isobel

The I for Isobel quotes below are all either spoken by Mrs. Adams or refer to Mrs. Adams . 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 5 Quotes

The tears were coming slowly. How could tears come from so deep, as if she was a tree with tears welling up from its roots? Then they came in a roaring flood that drowned thought; she put her cheek against the rock, which was as rough as a cat's tongue and unyielding, but she was too far gone to feel any perverse pleasure in that. Her sobs were so loud that even in this wasteland she had to put her hands over her mouth to muffle them; when her mind sobered up her body went on snuffling and heaving along ten years of roadway.

I am a writer. I am a writer.

Too late. It must be too late. The poor little bugger in the baking dish; nobody came in time.

Suppose I tried? Suppose I went through the motions? The writer might come back.

You've tried that with love. It doesn't work.

But that was other people, too. This is me.

The crying had slackened. There was such a feeling of limbs stretching, of hands unbound, she knew she could choose to be a writer. A pen and an exercise book, that was all it took, to be a rotten writer, anyhow. Good or rotten' that came later.

It meant giving in to the word factory. That frightened her, because the word factory was such a menace. Now she understood why the idea of being press-ganged was so alarming.

Oh, well. If you can't lick 'em join 'em.

Maybe that was what the word factory was all about, the poor little bugger trying to get out of the baking dish.

Related Characters: Isobel Callaghan, Mrs. Adams
Related Symbols: The Baby in the Baking Dish
Page Number: 178
Explanation and Analysis:
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Mrs. Adams Character Timeline in I for Isobel

The timeline below shows where the character Mrs. Adams appears in I for Isobel. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 5: I for Isobel
Mothers, Daughters, and Self-Discovery Theme Icon
Poverty, Abuse, and Violence Theme Icon
Transience and The Search For Belonging Theme Icon
...put in jail. It is too late, though—Isobel is caught. She sees her old neighbor , Mrs. Adams , coming towards her and smiling brightly. Isobel is shocked. (full context)
Poverty, Abuse, and Violence Theme Icon
Mrs. Adams asks Isobel what she’s doing with herself, and Isobel answers that she’s working at an... (full context)
Mothers, Daughters, and Self-Discovery Theme Icon
Poverty, Abuse, and Violence Theme Icon
Storytelling, Fiction, Narrative, and Escape Theme Icon
Mrs. Adams brings tea and biscuits to the table, and tells Isobel she has something she wants... (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
Mrs. Adams tells Isobel that the poem “thrilled” her—she loved the cat very much, and when the... (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
...other people to bear witness to it. Isobel says meekly that she had always thought Mrs. Adams was angry because Isobel put her name in the paper. Mrs. Adams asks Isobel whatever... (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 finishes her tea and thanks Mrs. Adams —she knows she has to leave soon, as she feels she is “coming to pieces... (full context)