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Momma's mother, Gram, is as fierce, stubborn, and independent as Dicey and Sammy and as eccentric as Momma. Gram has endured a marriage to a man whom she neither loved nor particularly liked, but she stood by him completely, even though she grew increasingly angry at his actions. Gram's anger warped her relationship with her children, resulting in her driving each of them away from the house and estranging them from her for the rest of their lives. When Gram's husband dies, she is relieved to be free from her promise. She withdraws into herself on her run-down farm, trying to live as far as possible from the world and memories, which cause her pain and guilt. When the children first meet Gram, she is balled up like a fist or a knot of wire. She speaks sharply and harshly to them, she shows no kindness or affection, and she tells Dicey that the children cannot stay with her. At the same time, she finds herself reaching out to them almost despite herself when she convinces Dicey that the children should stay the first night. This opening lets Dicey know that part of Gram does want the children in her life. The children's presence softens Gram, and finally, in her own act of reaching out, she admits that more than anything, she is afraid of repeating her mistakes of the past and hurting and driving away these children as well. Gram's decision to take the children in is as great an act of courage and self-transformation as Dicey's decision to walk with the children to Bridgeport.
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