Character Analysis Of Aina In The Heifer

1646 words - 7 pages

Melissa Hardy's short story, "The Heifer," tells the story of a young woman named Aina who travels to Canada to start a new life with her husband. Aina is raised in a traditional Finnish home and defies her father by leaving to be with her love. She is blinded by the childhood romance and jumps at the chance to be with Uwe. This severe shift in lifestyle affects Aina and changes her forever. Her innocence is quickly jaded and exchanged for a cynical outlook on life. She realizes her survival is in her own hands and does whatever it takes to live.

Aina is fourteen when Uwe leaves for Canada. She is devastated after his departure. She waits four years until he sends for her to come. Fourteen is a young age to fall in love. Aina is blinded by love and ignores the fact that she hardly knows Uwe anymore. In those four years, her imagination creates pictures of him and romantic scenarios that never actually occur. After recalling "memories" over and over during the time he is gone, she begins to believe they all transpired. ."..A whole new love began to assemble itself of out bits and pieces and snatches of memory. Some of these memories were of things that had actually happened- wildflowers that he had one day picked for her and given her by the stone wall near her father's well...Others were of events that she had wished had transpired, sentiments that she hoped he might one day express" (Hardy 99). Uwe writes her only twice during the four years allowing Aina to form her own ideas of what he is doing. With her spare time she invents a dream world that she visits to see Uwe. When Uwe sends the money order for her ticket Aina, she is overwhelmed. "However, the idea of leaving her family and her village and everything that was familiar to her in order to move to a new country where everything was not old like it was in Finland... This idea cause in the girl's imagination and grew and grew until it became so large that she was hard put to squeeze anything in alongside it. The notion of moving to Canada and marrying Uwe Pahakka filled her brain to bursting" (Hardy 99). She is excited and nervous about the possibility of moving to be with Uwe.

Aina's family opposes her emigration to Canada. They tell her she can follow him there when he provides a title to a farm and the money for her passage. Her family doesn't believe he would ever accomplish this and makes the promise to keep Aina happy. " `The Pahakkas are not good stock,' her father had advised his protesting daughter. The Lappis thought that they had heard the last of Uwe when he disappeared into that great hole in the world that was sucking up the young men, North America" (Hardy 97). Her father discusses her marriage to a neighboring farmer. The farmer begins courting Aina on and off for two years; the two fathers decide on an exchange of property with the union. However, all children have a deep urge to defy their parents. Although she also thinks about...

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