Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?

Mrs. Ratlow Character Analysis

The head of English at Jeanette’s sixth-form college (a kind of junior college where students in their late teens study for their college entrance qualifications and exams). Mrs. Ratlow has a flamboyant appearance and Jeanette describes her as “vain and frightening and ridiculous.” Mrs. Ratlow takes Valium in class and often throws books at her students’ heads. Mrs. Ratlow has a deep love of literature, which she attempts to instill in her pupils. Jeanette eventually confides in Mrs. Ratlow the fact that she has been kicked out of her home and is living in her Mini Cooper, and Mrs. Ratlow takes Jeanette in, giving her a place to stay, rent-free. Mrs. Ratlow coaches Jeanette through her Oxford entrance exams and writes a letter in support of her admission when she is initially rejected, which results in an offer of admission.
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Mrs. Ratlow Character Timeline in Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?

The timeline below shows where the character Mrs. Ratlow appears in Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 9: English Literature A-Z
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The Pursuit of Love and Happiness Theme Icon
...Nabokov. But when she asks the question of the head of English at her school, Mrs. Ratlow —a flamboyant and unpredictable teacher who is deeply devoted to literature—it leads to a conversation... (full context)
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The Pursuit of Love and Happiness Theme Icon
...book written by Stein about her female lover—and then drives her Mini Cooper over to Mrs. Ratlow ’s house. She is grateful that Mrs. Ratlow is “giving [her] a chance,” though she... (full context)
Chapter 10: This Is The Road
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The Pursuit of Love and Happiness Theme Icon
...most impossible thing [she] could do.” She knows few women with real jobs, and even Mrs. Ratlow , a widow, still cooks and cleans for her two sons and never takes vacations.... (full context)
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The Pursuit of Love and Happiness Theme Icon
...poorly in her interviews. Weeks later, she finds that she has not been accepted. Though Mrs. Ratlow encourages her to consider other options, Jeanette feels there are “no other options.” She and... (full context)