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Terminal Resemblance Essay

1181 words - 5 pages

"Terminal Resemblance: by Louise Gluck"Terminal Resemblance" by Louise Gluck will be about a family who has a terminal illness that is passed down from generation to generation."Terminal Resemblance" could easily be the topic of a lengthy essay; however, I will attempt to summarize it in just a few short sentences. The poem is about a daughter who never really communicated well with her father. One day her father comes to her and wants to discuss something very important with her. As the conversation develops the daughter realizes that her father is telling her what it is like to be dying. He explains to her how he keeps expecting pain but it never comes and that he is not suffering at all. The daughter explains to her dad how she thought he was lucky to be not feeling any pain. As she is leaving, she and her father stick to their usual routine of no hugs and no dramatic goodbyes. When the daughter is getting into the Taxi, her father did something he never does. Although he normally just stands there with her mother and watches her leave; this time he waved goodbye. The daughter in turn waved goodbye as she tried to the mask of the trembling of her hands.When reading "Terminal Resemblance" there are a few words or phrases that may need a little bit of explanation. When the author states "My father wanted to tell me what it was like to be dying." (l 21) This is not the father explaining to his daughter about dying in general rather he is explaining to his daughter that he is dying from a terminal illness. If you do not understand the way the line "I said I was glad for him, that I thought he was lucky" (l 25) was used, it may confuse you as to why the daughter would say this when her father tells her he is dying; however, the daughter is stating that the father is lucky because he is not suffering and he is feeling no pain. The author makes a statement about the mother "because it frightens her when a hand isn't being used." (l 34) In this statement the author is pointing out that the mother has to always be doing something, her hands are never idle.In attempting to understand this poem, the reader must understand the underlying meanings, and imagery. I will first explain the underlying meanings behind some of the phrases. "Talk for us always meant the same thing. He'd say a few words. I'd say a few back. That was about it" (ll 6-8) In this statement, the daughter is explaining that she and her father never really had good communication skills. Their conversations never went past saying what needed to be said. When the daughter stated "My father and I avoided being alone; we didn't know how to connect to make small talk-there didn't seem to be any other possibilities. So this was special: when a man's dying, he has a subject" (ll 11-16) The daughter has realized that her father must have something important to say to her because he not only chose to speak to her alone, but she knew he wouldn't have initiated this conversation for simple small...

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