Walker, Tan, Mason and Kincaid

Alice Walker

As I was reading this story I could not help but think that it could be turned into a good Hallmark movie. There is a good lesson to be learned from the characters in this story and I believe that everyone should at least think about if not learn from. It seems that more educated and advanced people become the more they begin to forget their roots, where they come from. It was so ridiculous of Dee to want to try and save her heritage and denounce her family name at the same time. It sort of reminded me of Beneatha in “A Raisin in the Sun”, waltzing in with some crazy African name claiming she is too good for her family name. The mother did the right thing by Maggie by standing up to Dee; yes things like butter dishes and quilts passed down through the years deserve to be put up and preserved but they were created to be used and loved by the family members of those who created them with love. I have a quilt that my great grandmother hand stitched and I keep it on the guest bed to be used but I make sure that nothing happens to it; I hand wash it and line dry it to keep it in good condition. I can understand both sides of the argument but I do believe I side with Maggie and their mother because the things that Dee wanted to take belonged in a place where they would be loved and used like they were intended to be used. I really liked this story and I can relate to it in several ways. I do believe that when I have children and it is time to pass on my family things I will think back to this story and tell my children to love and cherish the things I pass on to them but never forget to use them every once and a while; and always love and cherish them.

Bobbie Ann Mason

This story was a little on the odd side, but I liked it. It just made me think about how common it is for relationships to go sour after so many years and especially after the death of a child. I only hope the same thing doesn’t happen to some old friends of mine; their baby girl died of SIDS two days ago. I really hope that they can make it through this alright. Another bad thing for couples to do is to not allow each other to have dreams and help each other achieve those dreams. If Norma Jean had listened to Leroy’s dream of building a log cabin instead of shooting it down immediately, maybe things would have turned out a little differently. Then again, I think she may have had her mind already made up about leaving him not too long after his accident. It is really sad that the more time Leroy spent at home with his wife, the more he fell in love with her but his wife was going in a completely different direction and he had no idea. It is sad that many people try to express their love for their spouse but only end up pushing them further away. As much as I liked this story, I did not like the way that it ended; I really think that Norma Jean should have noticed how hard Leroy was trying to fix things and give him another chance; try to make things work. I believe she wouldn’t have made such an irrational decision if her mother hadn’t been so nosy and pushed her buttons so many tines. The loss of their child, the fact that they were so young when they got married and that Leroy was always out on the road, made their marriage very hard to begin with but I think that if they truly loved each other they should have been able to work things out.

Jamaica Kincaid

I have read this poem quite a few times but it is much better to hear Jamaica
Kincaid read it herself. I have always liked it, no matter how I receive it. I think any girl can relate to this train of thought because all of us have been nagged by our mothers or grandmothers about how to live or clean or act. Ever since the first time I read this poem I have thought that if I ever have a little girl, I will read it to her or even have a copy hung in her room. It is a shame that as women our lives have changed so much that now we don’t have such wonderful things to share and pass on to our daughters. We wash clothes when we find the time and dress in what ever feels good or act the way we want around any and everyone; there are just not many lessons to be learned or passed on now.


O'Connor and Olson

Flannery O'Connor

As with many other works we were assigned this semester, “A Good Man is Hard to Find” is one of the works I have read a time or two before. I have never really liked the story very much and I still don’t care for the message conveyed within it. I do, however, agree completely with the grandmother and the title; a good man is really hard to find no matter what era of time you look at. Men have always been shallow, cold hearted, human beings but every once in a while there is a handful of them who are actually worth our time and are truly good men. I am so incredibly thankful that I have found one of those few good men and I hope that every woman on earth would stumble upon the same luck that sent me Chris.
I did not like, nor have I ever liked, the grandmother in this story; she is so self centered and stupid. I mean most grandmothers will annoy the crap out of you and talk as if they know everything but this woman takes the cake. First of all, she should have owned up to her mistake when she realized the house she was looking for was in fact in Tennessee not where they were. Secondly, she should never have let “the Misfit” know that she knew who he was; if she had she and her family might still be alive. The third thing that bothered me about her was the fact that she did not care to plead for the lives of her son and his family. She just talked and talked to save her own sorry hide but in the end it was her talking that got her killed; but that’s what she gets for being so self centered. i did, however, agree with one thing the grandmother wanted in the story, I would much rather go to Tennessee instead of Florida.

Tillie Olson

This was a very sobering story and as sad as it is, I really liked it. Much of this story reminds me of myself as a girl and some of it reminds me of my sister. My sister was a sickly child and my parents babied her for her whole life, even after I came along. Amber was five years old when I was born and the difference between us was soon obvious. She was small and thin and struggled with her health and her school life. I was strong and healthy and independent and I did well in school; these differences were the catalyst for the unhappiness in my childhood. Even though I was younger, I was left to fend for myself when they were coddling Amber and for the longest time I even took care of her; I cooked for us and protected us and stood up to the bullies at school for her. These events, coupled with the excessive moving due to military life, made my childhood difficult. As a preteen I was clinically depressed and often wondered if I would be missed if I just went away; this continued up through high school and I was very close to being institutionalized. The doctors I saw seemed to think that my mother was the key to figuring out what my problems were but my problems were so much deeper than just my mother and I still struggle with a few of them today. It is almost scary how much this story seemed to echo my life even if the main character was more like my sister than me. It is interesting to think about what the mother says at the end; “Emily will not fulfill all of her potential - perhaps no one does - but she is likely to fulfill some of it, and that will be enough.” The mother only asks one thing for her daughter; that she will know and find ways to help her understand that she is more than someone who must merely "fit in" or be helpless before the forces of life. I believe that everyone should want that in their life as well as their children’s lives.


Serena by Ron Rash

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and I think I will let my grandmother borrow it soon because I think she would enjoy it as much as I did. I really liked how unique and complex that Rash actually made Serena; she was bold and sassy and just awesome all around. She didn't seem to let anything bother her and if anything did bother she just got rid of the problem whether that meant firing someone or killing them. With the whole murdering aspect of Serena aside, I think she is someone that I could aspire to be like, smart, independent, successful, beautiful and mysterious; those are all things that I believe many women wouldn’t mind being. I’m not entirely certain why I was attracted to her character so much but I think the thought of how much power she held over people was the most appealing to me, that and the eagle.
I really liked the way that Rash began and ended the novel, both were very unexpected and well thought out; they are perfect examples of poetic justice at its finest. Serena tells Rachel Harmon to sell the pearl handled knife because it is all they she and Jacob will get from the Prembertons and it is that very knife that is plunged into Serena’s belly in the end by none other than her husband’s son, Jacob; its almost like a soap opera. Serena may have been an awesome, complex character but she deserved what she got in the end. I didn’t see why she found it necessary to kill her husband because even though he saw how evil and manipulative she was, he loved her to the very end; it is so sad when he dies and his last thoughts are only of her. Another thing I really enjoyed about the novel was how Rash gave even the most minor characters so much detail and personality and used them to tell the story from another point of view. I have always thought that reading novels or stories set in places that you are familiar with makes the story come to life so much easier; I have read many Sharyn McCrumb novels which are set in North Carolina and Tennessee as well as Stephanie Meyer and Yasmine Galenorn which are set in Washington state where I lived before moving here.