extreme vigor or energy
I encountered this word on page 225
“She was anxious to be a true help-
mate, for in her heart was a feeling of obliga-
tion, of humble gratitude.
In her ardor and sincerity Helga even
made some small beginnings. True, she was not
very successful in this matter of innovations.”
I knew that this word was connected to sincerity in a way but I could not tell which way. This passage now makes more sense because it fits with her characterization as the preachers wife.Helga has shown that she doesn’t feel like she belongs anywhere.Not with her family,not with her friend who shares the same tastes,not with black people in Harlem and not even at a place where she was pampered.Helga saw a chance here and took it.Now shes loved as the preachers wife and shes trying hard to be perfect and teach others to be aesthetically pleasing.Her life as the preachers wife has made her work hard because she thinks shes going to get what shes always wanted.A family,a place to belong.Helga is putting as much energy as she can into this situation because she does not want o lose the only chance she believes she has at happiness/a place to belong.