William James once said “Whenever you're in conflict with someone, there is one factor that can make the difference between damaging your relationship and deepening it. That factor is attitude.” This was very useful to Latha in Ru Freeman’s “A Disobedient Girl”. Latha was a servant to the Vithanage family, and even though she performed her daily servant duties, she was treated as if she was grime. Her main problems were with Mrs.Vithanage, the mother of the family. Mrs. Vithanage despised her and created conflicts with Latha every chance she could get. Mrs. Vithanage created these problems through hatred, jealousy, and neglect.
“Will you stop talking about the sandals? Didn’t I just tell you there was no need for sandals? What is the matter with you?” Mrs. Vithanage rarely raised her voice to reprimand any of her servants…”(pg 46) Latha was continually walking and working on her feet all day and her shoes were old and torn, she was in bad need of a new pair of shoes but Mrs. Vithanage wouldn’t allow her, this was a form of hatred. “What do you need money for? It’s safer in the bank.” Mrs. Vithanage despised Latha so much, she didn’t even reward her with her daily pay. Latha worked 10 years with 2 bonuses, and Mrs.Vithanage said she put it all directly in the bank, but why. Why couldn’t Latha use her money sometimes on the things she desired, or even needed such as new shoes.
Latha was a servant but she was very smart as well. She was even thought of as being smarter than Thara, Mrs.Vithanage daughter. Mrs. Vithanage envied the fact that Latha was smarter than her daughter, and tried to sabotage her education by taking her out of school. “It’s against the law to keep a child in bondage like this, without sending her to school…,”he said. “Until grade eight,” she had said.”(pg 49) Mrs. Vithanage allowed jealousy to take over her and she had no remorse that she was “violating” the law. “ ..and laughed when he had compared her own daughter and asked Mrs.Vithanage if she wasn’t ashamed to send a child of hers of the same age to school while depriving another, and a smart one a that, a chance to finish her education” (pg 49) Everyone else as well as Mrs.Vithanage saw that Latha was smart, but Mrs.Vithanage was one of the only ones who wouldn’t admit to it and allow Latha to blossom. Her jealousy blinded her and didn’t allow her to see Latha’s smarts as an opportunity to help Thara.
“..and told Soma to show her how to fold strips of cloth(torn from Mr.Vithanage’s old, soft, threadbare sarongs, no less and put them in her underwear and wash them afterward, and when there was no talk of a dhobi or a bath and certainly no talk of the Kind of party that Thara had on that seventh day..”(pg 33) Although Latha was a...