What I really appreciated throughout this novel was that although we see people make horrendous decisions that hurt others, no one is made out to be a cartoonish villain only there to serve a narrative of Minnie as the ultimate martyr. Instead, everyone in this novel is represented as a real person with flaws but also redeeming qualities which really serve to show us that in reality, people aren’t monolithic. Minnie’s mother, Charlotte epitomizes this idea. She does drugs and has sex when she wants with whoever she wants. Neither of these things make her a bad person but the fact that she mentions that Monroe is looking at Minnie’s breasts, yet allows him to still come over, does.
While Minnie seems to emulate Charlotte in her pursuit of external pleasures, perhaps to numb her own loneliness of having a mother who is seemingly too busy to pay her any meaningful attention, by engaging in lots of sex and drugs. Gretel seeks external pleasures as well but with food, eating an excess and isolating herself, perhaps trying to fill the same void as Minnie does, the void of a parent’s care and attention. Minnie seems to emulate her mother’s behaviour a way to try to understand her and in a sense seems to be trying to pull closer to her, while Gretel pulls away, despising the behaviour that both Minnie and her mother are exhibiting. Charlotte really is a catalyst to a lot of Minnie’s decisions because she emulates the behaviour of a woman who she’s lived with for her whole life, yet barely knows.