It is inevitable that everyone suffers. No one has a perfect life, so at one point or another, every person in the world will have a bad day, week, or year. Everyone experiences their own losses, but the way we react to those losses determines what happens to the rest of our lives. In The Book of Ruth, all the characters deal with events that hurt and scare them. Most characters have little problems that scar them forever, or big problems that they sometimes don’t even detect. While some of these characters let these problems ruin their lives, others rose above their everyday struggles to find a better life. Ruth, Matt, Daisy and May all took very different approaches on their suffering. Some of the characters use their suffering to motivate them, while others let their suffering wear them down.
Throughout the book, Ruth is exposed to many forms of verbal and physical abuse. These abuses hurt her, but she is just as hurt by the little things as well. She is forced to deal with problems, like when her own mother doesn’t buy her a brassiere, or when all the kids at school look up her skirt and tell her they will be her “best friend”. She suffers many embarrassing moments throughout the book. That doesn’t mean that she doesn’t enjoy herself at times. During her childhood, she specifically remembers one good day, when she ate ice cream in July with her family.
“It took me several years to figure out that on that July night we were actually experiencing the gladness some people feel everyday, not just once a summer. I saw how it was with other people, because I watched the children in church, running to their mothers after Sunday school. I saw it every Sunday, week after week, year after year. The mothers swept the children off their feet and kissed them on their cheeks, and both mother and child laughed. They didn’t need to say words because they had this gladness inside, just the same as if for a few minutes, they all had a splat of ice cream dripping down into their mouths, and it’s the hottest day on Earth.” Ruth is aware that life isn’t perfect, but she knows she can find the feeling of being happy if she relishes every moment. She could have easily overlooked her ice cream outing with her family, but she absorbed the moment and realized what real happiness was-being with the people who you love. When the people who were suppose to love her hurt her feelings, it caused pain and suffering. As May and Ruth are dancing in their living room joyfully, Matt walks in and shakes his head at them. He sends their brief moment of enjoyment out the window. Ruth says, “Sometimes, I feel that I’m only just ready to start my life. I know what I need to do to live it a hundred times better. As far as I can see, no one is out there waiting for me with a ticket that says, ‘Try it again.’ I’ll probably really figure out exactly how to be alive right when I’m gasping for my last breath.”(p.78)
Ruth wants her life to be happier, like the day in...