Louise Erdrich “The Years of My Birth” In “The Years of My Birth” by Louise Erdrich it is critical to understand the symbolic meaning of the presence connected to white room and the main character Linda, who is also known as Tuffy. Being that Linda is the main character and the narrator in the story we learn that she retells the story fifty years later. Erdrich invest much effort in explaining the earlier years that links an indescribable phantom presence, which comes to Linda at other moments in her life. “ That presence would come to me again other moments in my life. Its return is partly what this story is about.” (Erdrich page 1) Linda’s description of her birth present a setting that is harsh and unpleasant. Born with a deformity at birth caused by her twin who crushed her while in the womb, neglected and left to die by her birth mother she grew to be unattached to things to avoid pain. “Mrs. Lasher I have something important to say.
Your other child has a congenital deformity and may die. Shall we use extraordinary means to salvage it? She looked at the doctor with utter incomprehension at first, then cried, “NO!”. (Erdrich Page 1) We can all imagine the pain and hardship a child has to deal with growing up knowing your birth mother rejected you. Just the thought alone is painful, not to mention born a twin. You may begin to feel hopeless like something or someone is missing and that is what Linda began to feel at an early age. “Around the age of two, I was taken away for the first time and placed in a room. I remember the smell of disinfectant and what I would now call despair. Into this disinfectant despair, there came a presence, someone or something, who grieved with me and held my hand”. (Erdrich Page 1) This presence comes back to Linda the night she receives a random phone call from Mrs. Lasher her birth mother, who claims her after fifty years in attempt to get her kidney for her twin Linden. “ This is Nancy Lasher.” The voice was tight and nervous. “I am your mother.” (Erdrich Page 1) We can debate the notion that Linda is reborn the moment she is contacted by her birth mother.
At that moment, in which she replays her birth as the one who is the powerful being rejecting her mother this time. “ It was kind of replay of my birth. I’d done it over. But this time I had instinctively rejected my mother, left her in the cradle just as she’d left me.” (Erdrich page 3) Later, Linda turns out to be a genuine person, very precious and willing to give, and, in spite of the cruel way in which the news were given to her. Linda becomes the one with the power of giving new life. At that point, she chooses instinctively not to repeat the actions of her birth mother. With the play of events Linda attempts to connect the presence she felt her entire life being Linden.
“ I had never before thought of the presence in relation to my twin, who’d grown up not an hours drive away from me, but that night the combination of the phone call out of the blue and twelve-letter word in my puzzle set my thoughts flowing.” (Erdrich page 3) The presence grows stronger for the shadowy emanation of a lost twin, until Linda finally meets Linden and things get complicated. Realizing, he is truly the offspring of her birth mother. By his actions along with his words inside of the white hospital room strikes a pain of remembrance being alone, neglected, unwanted, and rejected, which Linda lived through the years of her birth. “I tried to get away from him, to get to the door, but instead I backed up against the wall and was stuck there in that white, white room”. (Erdrich Page 5)