Dolores Price and her life in the novel “She’s Come Undone” is a paradox of extremes. She awakened to a happy family that ended up being a nightmare. A family wherein her parents, Daddy Tony and Mommy Bernice have totally gone berserk with themselves and with each other through their infidelity; divorce and emotional incapacity to cope with the death of Anthony Jr, the newborn brother of Dolores. Because of such turn of events, Dolores experienced generation and moral gap with her maternal Grandma Holland with Grandma Holland’s cultish Catholicism and her stringent code of ethics.
Dolores experienced childhood trauma with the emotional disturbance of her mother and finally the accidental death of her mother being run over by a vehicle. Dolores experienced the insecurity with her Daddy Tony choosing another woman over her and her mother. Dolores experienced abuse when she was duped and raped by their neighbor, Jack Speight at the age of 13. Dolores experienced being discriminated in school because of her being overweight and which made her create a defense mechanism in a negative way.
Dolores experienced being ostracized and abused by her classmate/roommate, Kippy Strednicki, which made Dolores conversely treacherous and conniving and made her hate college and totally giving it up and running away. Dolores experienced being lasciviously threatened by a lesbian, Dottie, conversely used her for her escape. This string of seemingly endless trauma and pressure and angst are all caused by a social problem which is her dysfunctional family that lead to her self-imposed self-destruction.
THE HYPOTHESIS AND ARGUMENT: During her childhood before she became an adolescent, Dolores, Bernice and Tony Price led the full meaning of being a family – between them they shape each other’s beings through love, care, concern and harmony. They thrived with what is best in them and survived the worst in them. “The family as a human institution is universal and has survived through history as the most workable kind of living unit for mediating the culture in preparing the young for the next generation.
” (Hooper & Hooper, 1990, page 289). Thus, the Price family at the beginning was based on love. However, the most extreme tragedy and tests of time came along – and seemingly, Tony and Bernice Price were not prepared and/or incapable of handling them. The brunt of the trauma fell on young Dolores. So, when Dolores Price said: “Mine is a story of craving: an unreliable account of lusts and troubles that began, somehow , in 1956 on the day our free television was delivered. Many times each week memory makes me a child again.
” (Lamb, 1992, page 17) – the novel “She’s Come Undone illustrated that as a foundation of society, the family is the sole cause of anything and everything that is positive or negative that shall ensue in one’s life. THE SOCIOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE: The trauma that Dolores Price underwent caused her to become totally negative about herself, her image and she evolved with a propensity to destroy herself, to commit suicide. The presence of Geneva Sweet, the best friend of Bernice Price would have been maximized as the saving grace of the life of Dolores.
The presence of an extended family like the person Geneva Sweet is a factor that society must take the initiative to maximize. If anyone, either as a friend or a blood relation knows of a dysfunction in another family – there is that great, golden opportunity to save the day. Anyone within immediate acquaintance can be an extended family. The ability for anyone within that sphere to recognize the potential of easing situations of dysfunctional family within their community will be a big leap in solidifying the total purpose of what family, kinship and relations are all about.
STRENGTH AND WEAKNESSES OF THE BOOK: “She’s Come Undone” is a gripping tale of personal tragedy. It is so strong in its message and storytelling technique how a human being can be tried and tested in life. Anyone who reads the story can definitely relate and see himself or herself in the story in whatever way or manner. Figuratively, literally, metaphorically, or even hyperbolically everyone is a “Dolores Price”. The interesting thing is that Wally Lamb spiced the narration as Dolores Price with humor – inspite of it being cynical and incisive.
“She’s Come Undone” has not fallen short of anything nor from anything. There is nothing weak or incomplete. The book and the story and the narrative style was completely powerful and compelling and encompassing from page 1 to page 465. However, for the sake of argument, Wally Lamb could have expounded more on the benefits of the characterization of Geneva Sweet. She is the unsung hero of the life of Dolores Price. LESSON LEARNED: Misery loves company – yes, and one can really dwell in the story of Dolores Price.
When one unravel’s oneself in a story, you live with the character as you read along. “She’s Come Undone” is a bridge between the most compounding dilemma of Dolores Price to the true meaning that could have been possibly evoked by Geneva Sweet. As the saying goes, there is always an angel in your life. To the height of the cynicism and despair of Dolores Price, her supposedly “last two minutes” before she ditched into oblivion, she called Geneva Sweet. Dolores Price said she “wanted to talk to someone, some person I hadn’t failed – someone who would listen.
” (Lamb, 1992, page 248) If any and all “Dolores Price” of the world indeed recognizes that there is “someone I could talk to”, that is the small step to the biggest and widest and highest chance to be saved by that angel. One must recognize that one particular chance. SOLUTION FOR SOCIAL CHANGE: A family cannot be expected to be perfect. Growing up is a painful process. And within an imperfect or dysfunctional family, the more it makes growing up to be extremely difficult. Society and communities of man must work together towards initiative to be an extended family.
The inspiration and motivation and sincere support from an extended family can pave the way for the traumatized “Dolores Price” of any society to get help: counseling and/or therapy groups. This outside support will assist in re-invigorating perspective and providing affirmation of self-worth. Any victim of a dysfunctional family can be assisted to learn to acknowledge and express their emotions. If there is a well meant support from an extended family to be a “shoulder to cry on” and will sincerely listen, it will be a lot of help. The anger of any “Dolores Price” should be allowed to be vetted out.
“Letting it all out” or “crying it all out” will ease the burden. A sincere outside support will pave the way for the victim of a dysfunctional family to trust others. Any “Dolores Price” can even start looking into the possibility of taking care of himself or herself and not resorting to “destroying” oneself, either by overeating or by suicide. An extended support can motivate any “Dolores Price” to believe in a family again. (Counseling Services, Kansas State University, 1993-1997, paragraph 9) Works Cited Lamb, Wally. “She’s Come Undone”. 1992
Pocket Books, Simon & Schuster Inc. , New York, New York Hooper, Frank H. & Hooper, Judith O. “The Family as a system of Reciprocal Relations: Searching for a Developmental Lifespan Perspective” Methods of Family Research: Biographies of Research Projects Vol. 1 Ed. Irving E. Sigel, Gene H. Brody Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers, New Jersey Hove and London 1990. Page 289 “Dysfunctional Families: Recognizing and Overcoming Their Effects”. 1993-1997 Help Yourself. Counseling Services. Kansas State University. Para. 9 http://www. k-state. edu/counseling/topics/relationshps/dysfunc. html
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