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When the reader first meets Leora, she is a sharp-tongued and witty nurse in training, ready to rebuff Martin's arrogance. She is a working, down-to-earth woman with a mind of her own. And yet as the novel progresses she seems to become less forceful. She gives up nursing although she does take up stenography, and she seems, at times, ambitious and self-effacing, giving her life over to her love for Martin.
There is no doubt of Leora's love, faithfulness, and support for Martin. She is always willing to move for his work and she understands his need to be a "laboratory man." In fact she often accompanies his sleepless nights at work. It is true that Leora gives up her career for Martin, but, then again, from the beginning she had claimed that she did not have much ambition and did not really have a passion for nursing. However, it would be unfair to say that Leora loses her strength as the novel progresses because she never loses a moment's chance to tell her husband exactly how she feels. She also is constantly reminding him of who he is, and their marriage is one of true companionship and love, despite Martin's temptations elsewhere (Orchid and Joyce).
As the novel progresses it becomes apparent that Martin cannot live without Leora. He is constantly thinking of his need for her and his gratitude towards her. And yet, it was because of Leora that Martin had to give up the lab initially and move to Wheatsylvania. And, further, it is not until Leora dies that Martin is able to raise himself up in courage against the institutes he has worked for and join Terry Wickett in his independence.
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