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Debbie Spring’s “The Kayak” Essay

The story ‘The Kayak’ interprets the life of a 16 year old girl, Theresa, who is still yet a baby. Her desire of becoming a woman remains unfulfilled un till she meets a boy named Jamie. When I read the story, so much sympathy for Theresa arose inside me. I feel closest to Theresa in comparison with the other two characters. When I was reading this story I was thinking about the level of patience Theresa has towards life, after what she has been through. Theresa is very insecure, dependant and helpless.

As you read this story, you will come to see why Theresa is insecure. “This is my special place. Out here, I feel secure” (Spring, Debbie Language and writing 9 -The Kayak .International1 Thomson Publishing, 1999, 33) Theresa’s special place is in water where she feels secure but on land, it is the total opposite. Another reason that proves my point is “I’m not used to talking to a guy, I never had a boyfriend, who would be interested in me?” (Spring, Debbie Language and writing 9 -The Kayak .International1 Thomson Publishing, 1999, 36). This shows that Theresa had low self-esteem, caused by the condition of life has bestowed upon her by taking away the power from her legs.

Theresa is so used to her insecurity that no matter what the circumstances are, her insecurity will pop up and take control. “Jamie puts his hand on my shoulder ‘Would you like to join me and my friends at a campfire tonight?’ ‘I don’t need pity’ I retort.” (Spring, Debbie Language and writing 9 -The Kayak .International1 Thomson Publishing, 1999, 37). Theresa thinks that nothing good can happen to her because of her past. When something is happening well, she will feel as if it too good to be true and thus ignore or hide from it. That is why Theresa’s insecurity is one of the most noticed character traits in the story.

Along with insecurity, readers also perceive dependence as one of Theresa’s character traits. She feels incomplete on land and nothing is in her control, but yet as she gets closer into the ware pieces of puzzle seem to come into place to complete her. “The blue boat is an extension of my legs, I can do anything, I can go anywhere, totally independent, totally in control of myself.” (Spring, Debbie Language and writing 9 -The Kayak .International1 Thomson Publishing, 1999, 33). In the water Theresa is woman, a heroine who can save the life of others, while on land she can barely take care of her own self. ” ‘Thanks for saving my skin’ Jamie says. ‘Next time, wear a lifejacket.’

Jamie doesn’t’t flinch. ‘You’re right. That was dumb.” (Spring, Debbie Language and writing 9 -The Kayak .International1 Thomson Publishing, 1999, 36). In various parts of the story, you can observe that no matter how Theresa wanted to rid herself from being dependent on her parents all the time, the trap doesn’t’t let her free. “My arms ache, I don’t want to go back to shore. Nobody lets me grow up. My parents treat me like a baby. I’m 16 years old, to old to pampered, already a woman.” (Spring, Debbie Language and writing 9 -The Kayak .International1 Thomson Publishing, 1999, 33). Theresa would love nothing more than being able to feel land, what she feels on water.

Helplessness is another character trait of Theresa. Helplessness is the worst you can feel because you want to do something under any situation whatsoever, but you just are not able to do so. Theresa does feel helpless in the story a lot. “Half the kayak is on land, the rest in the water, I feel trapped, like a beached whale.” (Spring, Debbie Language and writing 9 -The Kayak .International1 Thomson Publishing, 1999, 36). After reading this sentence, I felt the depth of her pain and how it tortures her everyday, yet being able to do nothing to help her self.

“I see my parents waving from shore. My father runs in the ware to help. Everything happens really fast, he takes control.” (Spring, Debbie Language and writing 9 -The Kayak .International1 Thomson Publishing, 1999, 36). She feels so helpless because she is not able to walk, so her father has to come funning to help her. Another place in the story she feels helpless is “My eyes water. Through tears, I see two images of me. The helpless child on land and the independent woman on water.” (Spring, Debbie Language and writing 9 -The Kayak .International1 Thomson Publishing, 1999, 37). That sentence shows that not only the readers conceive her helpless but she does also.

I think that the author Debbie Spring did a pretty good job in expressing Theresa’s characteristics. This story ‘The Kayak’ also sprinkles around most aspects of life along with hinting out a big moral. It has some many interesting lessons, a person can conceive such as the relationship between a parent and a child, how to overcome you biggest pains in life, in being able to let go and moving on, to see the bright side of life, seeing the glass half full and etc. I think that Theresa is a really brave and emotional character. Debbie Spring made us see everything by Theresa’s perspective, the way she feels by using first person narrator. I think if she would have done it otherwise, such as 2nd or 3rd person narrator to tell the same story, it wouldn’t’t have been as interesting as this on.


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