Cathy Whitaker

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Cathy Whitaker

Far From Heaven

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About Her

Living… in Hartford, Connecticut, still a largely segregated city in 1957. Cathy is fully for integration. She believes it's the Christian thing to do. She believes what happened in Little Rock could just as easily have happened in Hartford, but that's no reason for prejudice.

Profession… homemaker. Most days she tends to the house and makes conversation with Raymond, the son of her late gardener. As Raymond says, “Sometimes it's the people outside our world we confide in best. And because they may have had experiences similar to ours. Because they care to listen. And once you do share those experiences with someone, they're no longer really outside.”

Interests… tending to her husband Frank’s “mental condition,” which is that he seems to be attracted to men. There are many different ways at approaching what polite society views as his “problem.” Electro-shock aversion therapy, for instance, or hormonal re-balancing procedures. But neither of these would be part of any standardized treatment. He feels guilt over letting this destroy their family life.

Relationship Status… married, but under threat. Cathy thought she had the perfect suburban life, with an attractive husband who had a good job to provide a nice home that she kept up diligently. But Frank is not the man she thought he was, or the man he wanted the world to think he was. Their dream marriage is becoming a nightmare.

Challenge… the disgrace and alienation that comes from being friends with a black person. Raymond is her only friend in this town, the only one she can talk to without judgment. Now he's being run out of Hartford, moving to a place where he believes whites and blacks live in harmony. All because of the trouble she caused him.

Personality… well-meaning and kind, but lonely and beaten down by life. Soon after Cathy got married she stopped believing in the wild ardor of things. Perhaps in love as well, or at least the kind of love that makes us throw caution to the wind: “So often we fail in that kind of love. The world just seems too fragile a place for it. Or perhaps it's only we who are too fragile.” Does she have the courage to take another chance at happiness, maybe with Raymond?

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