The Hired Girl Part 5 Summary

Janet sat for David on Sunday instead of going to mass. She did not enjoy having to kneel on the ground and not being able to move, but afterward David gave her a drawing lesson. He even promised to buy her some drawing paper so she could practice. On their way home, Mimi, which is what the family calls Mirele, sees them in the park. She is warned afterward by David not to tell their mother she saw him and Janet together; Mrs. Rosenbach would not approve of David socializing with the hired girl.

Mimi and Janet together visit the Rosenbach department store, Mimi convinces Janet to buy several items of clothing which cost about $9. This is a lot of money for someone who makes $6 a week. Janet does notice though, that Mimi has a hard time seeing fine details inscribed on pieces of jewelry.

Janet receives a letter from Father Horst which Malka takes and reads before Janet can see it. Malka is enraged, because the Father expresses his concern that his comments about her working for Jews, has caused her to stop coming to mass and instruction. He also tells her she was right to rebuke him for his feelings against Jews. Malka takes the letter as meaning the priest is anti-Semitic and forbids Janet from seeing him again. She then tells Janet, if she refuses to stop going to mass, then she would have to choose between her church and her employment as a hired girl. Malka also tries to show the letter to Mrs. Rosenbach, but she is intercepted by Mr. Rosenbach. He reads the letter and after calming Malka down, he sends her back to the kitchen. He then asks Janet what she said to the priest. She tells him of the priest's plans for her and how she told him he was anti-Semitic. This makes Mr. Rosenbach smile, the fact that Janet would stand up to a priest for the family.

Janet at this point decides it is a good time to speak to Mr. Rosenbach about his religion. She had decided she was put in this household to convert them to Christianity. So she asks him about his views on the subject of Jesus; he explains them to her. He tells her in his faith Jesus is regarded as a good man, but not the Messiah. He also explains to her the right of each person to worship in the way they feel is best for them. He tells her he feels each person should remain loyal to their own faith and not try to turn a person away from their faith.

The conversation turns to literature as Mr. Rosenbach recommends some books to Janet. He also expresses his wish that Mimi was more like Janet. He wished his daughter would learn to love reading. Janet tells him Mimi has a hard time seeing small things, also she complains of frequent headaches. Janet suggests that maybe Mimi needs glasses. This idea makes Mr. Rosenbach very happy, for now he feels he has a solution to his daughter's resistance to reading.

Mimi is not happy at all with Janet's suggestion to her father. She does not want to wear glasses, because she feels she will look ugly and be teased by the other children. After she has a tantrum and dumps all of Janet's possessions out of her chest of drawers, she vows to get back at Janet.

David on, Tuesday, September 12, 1911, sketches Janet and then he takes her to the opera. They see La Traviata at the Academy of Music. Janet has never seen an opera before and is greatly moved by the performance. Janet is late returning to the house, because it was raining when the performance ended and it took longer than normal to return. Malka was angry because she had to cook dinner by herself, but she did not tell Mrs. Rosenbach about Janet's absence.

On Thursday Anna, the oldest Rosenbach daughter, showed up at the house looking for her mother. It seems her husband is away on business and the children have been sick. She has not had much sleep for a few days and is worried that she will become ill, if she does not get some rest. Janet tells her to give the children to her and to go take a nap. Malka took care of the baby while Janet entertained the little boy. He has a lot of energy and will not take a nap. Janet brings him up to her room to play Indians. In the course of play, Oskar, the little boy, sees Janet's crucifix and asks her what it is. She sees this as an opportunity to convert the boy from his Jewish faith to the Christian faith. She tells him all about Jesus, God, and the crucifixion. During the end of her explanation, she sees Oskar looking towards the doorway of her room, there standing in the doorway are Mrs. Rosenbach and Anna.

Mrs. Rosenbach is furious with Janet. She reprimands her for trying to convert her grandson to the Christian faith and tells her if she ever talks of her faith to Oskar again, she will be fired on the spot. She even goes so far as to tell Janet that she will be fired without a reference. This means Janet's chances of being hired again would be almost nonexistent. Janet feels terrible about having upset Mrs. Rosenbach, but still thinks she was doing the right thing by trying to convert Oskar. She later realizes she was wrong and formally apologizes to Mrs. Rosenbach.

Janet in this section realizes that each person should be allowed to worship in the manner that they choose. She also has her horizons opened by David when he takes her to the opera and talks to her about art. Mimi sees Janet as an enemy because Janet tries to help her see more clearly.

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