A Jest Of God. Based On The Novel By Margaret Laurence

1037 words - 4 pages

We were strangers from the beginningtormented by our differencewhich did not exist.(Betsy Warland)An important ingredient inherent in a successful mother-daughter relationship is balance. Like the scales of justice, maintaining equilibrium requires work. The special bond between mother and daughter is delicate and unlike any other relationship due to expectations of performance on behalf of both women. The female psyche is, characteristically, particular: each woman having a certain regiment making themselves unique. Ideals and behavior learned, possibly inherited, from others are two of many things which carve an individual's personality. It is these similarities and differences which often cause conflicts between mother and daughter. In A Jest of God, the relationship between Rachel and her mother is strained due to unspoken expectations that each had of the other. Stemming from poor communication, a host of differences were assumed to exist between the two, when in fact their struggle originated in their sameness.The largest weapon which spear-headed the communication war between Rachel and her mother was the generation gap; coming from different eras, the pair assumed they had nothing in common. In Rachel's eyes her mother was a pristine, saintly woman who maintained high moral values for herself and her family. Therefore, being a good person and making the right decisions was never questionable to Rachel, as this was how her mother expected her to behave. Rachel listened numerous times to her mother comment on how 'peculiar' her behavior looked, and spoke of anyone else she observed doing the same. Although this annoyed Rachel about her mother, she adopted similar paranoia tendencies, speculating how her behavior with Nick, a summer beau, looked to anyone who could be watching or noticing. Irritated by her mother's attitude, Rachel excused it on the pretense that her views reflected the past times in which she lived. However, Rachel had neither the patience nor the desire to speak out against her mother for fear of stirring trouble between them. The irony in Rachel's decision is that their relationship needed just what she was so desperately trying to avoid.By turning her back on the communication problem between herself and her mother, Rachel wanted to believe that the problem was inherent in the misunderstanding each had of the other. Underneath her shell, Rachel was coming to terms with what was really true of the gap between herself and her mother: their difference lay in her want to not be similar. Both were single: Rachel unmarried and her mother a widow. Through her fling with Nick, Rachel wanted to express her desires to be independent from her mother, and have an adult relationship with another human being. Another similarity between the two women was in their propensity to be stubborn and secretive, having opinions they did not speak of but eluded to. This stubbornness was evident in terms of religious exploration as both were...

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