We are who we are because of who we choose to be. Hardly do we admit that our family and our relationship with them contribute to our being. From the stories discussed, we are able to see beyond our time and our culture. An underlying undeniable fact peeks that our families are a part of us.
How families communicate and interact takes precedence over where and when the stories are set: the child’s struggle is as much as the parents’ ordeal. Sadly, we hardly realize the severity of the consequences of our actions until it’s too late.
In the Hudgin’s Elegy, a father has prepared his son for the future. Though, the son’s hesitation and unwillingness to accept that he will see his father soon after death seems to be a sign that the child is not yet ready to die. From the son’s descriptions, his father looks at death as a step into another realm where they will eventually see each other again (Hudgins, lines 10-12 and 19-21): a very optimistic view of death. Unconsciously, parents have tried to prepare us to be independent so we can make the right choices even when they are gone.
Daddy, despite its easy rhymes, tackles a troubling and depressing relationship between a daughter and her father. In her grief, the daughter finds difficulty to let go of her father’s memory and even relates her husband to her father. She attempts to move on and finally forgets despite the struggle and the tragic attempt to end her life early (Plath, stanza 12). Un unprepared disappearance of a loved one can destroy a child.
While Pound takes notice of economic stature, he salutes the underprivileged as simple and happy people. Even if the lowly fisherfolk do not have new and clean clothes, they are at their heart’s content and enjoy living day to day unlike the rigid norms that wealthy people conform to. Conforming to norms entails limiting and possibly prohibiting oneself from the things that truly matter (Pound, lines 1-2). Instead of appreciating the essence of life, as the people discover more and live complex lives, people have turned to physical wealth and attributes that are temporary.
Cisneros presents brief instances that describe the environment and points of view of a simple girl named Esperanza. She is young and vulnerable to the influences of her peers: an often blistering issue between parents and children. Our choices would often seem rash and naïve when heard by our parents. Perhaps, parents have to know how to communicate with children to explain things calmly and carefully. Our environment shapes us, so do the people that surround us and impact our lives.
Even today, most families are blinded with short-term luxuries. We tend to forget that what really matters is how we enrich our life, together with our family members, and touch others as we go through this passing journey.
Another creative representation of a mother and daughter relationship is showcased in “Girl”. Set in the late 70s, the mother gives advice on household chores and how to behave like a well-mannered lady. Monotonously and inattentive to her child’s feedback, the mother continues her banter and expects obedience from her daughter.
The scenario especially seems too stiff and absurdly funny in today’s culture. This relationship reminds us of the strict upbringing our parents may have gone through during their time. Parents had very high and specific expectations of their children. Most parents in our time still command obedience but demand less in chores and steer away from stern behavior giving us more freedom, individuality and independence.
Contrary to Kincaid’s mother character, Tyler’s parents are on the other hand, lax. Tyler’s Donny, played by a boy seeking attention, goes through common current teenage challenges that his parents are unable to control. With a lack of balanced parenting and probably favoritism, Donny’s mother slips and forgets to look after her growing son. Teen years are said to be difficult because of the hormonal and physical changes that happen to us. As our immediate guides and mentors, our parents may be our partners and saviour at this troubling times.
Hudgins, Andrew. “Elegy for My Father, Who Is Not Dead.” Your Textbook Title. (Date of publication), p946.
Plath, Sylvia. “Daddy”. Your Textbook Title. (Date of publication), p1150.
Pound, Ezra. “Salutation”. Your Textbook Title. (Date of publication), p880.
Cisneros, Sandra. “The House on Mango Street”. Your Textbook Title. (Date of publication), p525.
Kincaid, Jamaica. “Girl”. Your Textbook Title. (Date of publication), p578.
Tyler, Anne.“Teenage Wasteland”. Your Textbook Title. (Date of publication), p35.