“I mean the things that we have and that we think are solid – they’re like smoke, and time is like the sky the smoke disappears into. You know how a wreath of smoke goes up from a chimney, and seems all think and black and busy against the sky, as if it were going to do such important things and last forever, and you see it getting thinner and thinner – and then, in such a little while, it isn’t there at all; nothing is left but the sky, and the sky keeps on being just the same forever…”
Some thoughtful words from Isabel Amberson. Isabel is the “other woman” in The Magnificent Ambersons. Isabel, Georgie’s mother, is a woman of her time: she is meek, never argues with the men in her life, and gives her son anything he could ask for and more. While the rest of the town views George as spoiled and disdains him, Isabel describes her only son as angelic.
Isabel’s monologue not only reminds us that there are many surprises in our lives, she also sets the mood for a coming series of events. It is becoming evident that the Ambersons’ lives as they know it are about to change. The town that was built by Major Amberson, George’s grandfather, is becoming a dreary, crowded, soot-covered city. Times of elaborate dances and exquisite dress are coming to an end. These busy, seemingly important times will cease to exist. George, though, seems unaware of the changes surrounding him: his friends no longer worship him and his family structure, along with the architecture they built up around them, is collapsing. Soon, before George realizes it, these things will get thinner and thinner, and then in such a little while, there will be nothing.