The Taste of Watermelon

by

Borden Deal

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Mrs. Wills is Mr. Wills’s wife. She has been sick all year, and as a result, she is a very thin woman with pale skin. She sometimes sits on the porch for an hour or two, but she never visits with anyone else in the neighborhood. After the narrator steals the giant watermelon, Mr. Wills reveals that Mrs. Wills loves watermelons and had asked him about the progress of the “seed melon” every day. It was a symbol of hope for her, as she looked forward both to the meat of the melon itself and to enjoying the crop of giant watermelons that the melon’s seeds would bring the next year. Later, when the narrator apologizes to Mr. Wills, he learns that Mrs. Wills had not wanted the melon all for herself, but was instead hoping to share the melon with the whole neighborhood. This caring gesture suggests that people are not always what they appear. While the Wills family had appeared antisocial out of choice, Mrs. Wills had actually craved connection with her community.
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Mrs. Wills Character Timeline in The Taste of Watermelon

The timeline below shows where the character Mrs. Wills appears in The Taste of Watermelon. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Taste of Watermelon
Coming of Age and Masculinity Theme Icon
The narrator follows his father into the watermelon patch, passing Mrs. Wills and Willadean, who are huddled in the kitchen doorway. The narrator’s father asks Mr. Wills... (full context)