Comparative Essay A Bird In

874 words - 3 pages

Comparative Essay - A Bird in the House and A Jest of God One of the harsh realities of life is death. In A Bird in the House and A Jest of God, Margaret Laurence realizes the death of a loved one, the 'death of a dream', and the death of a relationship through the eyes of women. Laurence uses similar themes and ironic situations in both novels to paint a grim picture of life and death. In both novels, the author writes of the struggles of women coping with the death of a loved one. Vanessa, a young girl in A Bird in the House, undergoes considerable pain throughout the entire book. She endures the death of an infant sister, all her grandparents, her father, and lastly, her dog. For Vanessa, leaving town eased the pain. Her way of dealing wth all the death and sadness was to move away and leave it all behind. Twenty years later, Vanessa returns to her home town to bury her mother. "I had not been back in a long time, and I sensed that this would be my last sight of [Manawaka]." However, of her mother's death, Vanessa states, "Of all the deaths in the family, hers remained unhealed the longest." In A Jest of God, Rachel Cameron is a young schoolteacher who also experienced the death of a loved one, namely, her father. However, this is not Rachel's only exposure to death. Every day she sees the 'Grim Reaper' hovering over her ailing mother. Almost every waking moment she fears her mother's weak heart will fail and she will die. Rachel also suffers the death of a dream. She believes she is pregnant and when she finds out she is not, Rachel grieves the loss of what might have been - motherhood. However, Rachel finds solace in her fate - she becomes a mother to her mother. Like Vanessa, she too moves away from her home-town and starts a new life. One tool that Laurence uses is irony. In A Bird in the House, the ignorant housekeeper, Noreen, remarked, "A bird in the house means a death in the house," when a sparrow flew in Vanessa's bedroom window. Although Vanessa had never believed in Noreen's doctrines, this one sent a shiver through her. Ironically enough, a death did occur in the family, not involving the oldest member, but her middle-aged father, who was by profession, a doctor. In A Jest of God, Rachel Cameron,...

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