Ellen is July’s “town woman,” a Black office cleaner with whom July had a romantic relationship while working for the Smaleses in Johannesburg. July loses touch with Ellen when he and the Smaleses flee Johannesburg for July’s rural village. Maureen uses Ellen as leverage against July. She condemns July’s ignorance about what became of Ellen after he and the Smaleses left Johannesburg and judges him for having an extramarital affair in the first place. When July orders Maureen not to work in the fields with the other village women, Maureen assumes that July is afraid that she will tell Martha (July’s wife) about Ellen.
Ellen Character Timeline in July’s People
The timeline below shows where the character Ellen appears in July’s People. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
...also mentions her suspicion about July being afraid that Maureen might tell Martha about the town woman . Bam doesn’t appear to share Maureen’s concerns and goes outside to relieve himself. Maureen... (full context)