Maria was small-minded, fearful and repeated the same destructive relationship with her mother in her marriage. I think this was who she was, and although conditions of Depression era America may have amplified her weaknesses, she would be essentially the same person had she lived today.
Very well said.
Part of her weakness is her conflict over choosing Svevo. She lusted for him, got him, and revels in that part of the relationship. Even though she is married, somewhere inside her is shame over that lust.
At the same time, she gave up potential social position, and now lives a very difficult life where she feels everyone's contempt.
I can't be too hard on her because today swallow verbal abuse from their husbands, and others have dinner ready and waiting while hubby is off in the bar.
And women do remain distant from those who are different. Even at the riverbed, cliques existed. The overtly sensual woman is shunned, as is the poor downtrodden scrap who wears awful clothes.
Even with all of her faults, she did hold the family together. When she withdrew, everything fell apart.
Who knows how she could have blossomed with a different marriage, with respect from her husband?