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The Death Of A Daughter Essay

628 words - 3 pages

Authors have liberty in what they wish to include or omit in terms of characters and thematic action in their stories. Tennessee Williams, author of The Glass Menagerie and Jess Row, “Sheep May Safely Graze,” introduce individuals who are paramount to understanding other characters. These people who are not in the actual story, whether missing or dead, often times influence personalities, actions, or themes included in the work. Even though the psychological damage among the Wingfield family after the father’s disappearance in The Glass Menagerie is profound, the unnamed narrator suffers prolific amounts of grief following the death of his daughter Jolie. The speaker in Row’s narrative experiences conflicting emotions of love and hate as well as calmness and aggression as a result of uncontrollable forces, mainly the result of Jolie’s passing. The external conflict stemming from the loss of Jolie transpires into an ...view middle of the document...

Both the victims died in unforeseen circumstances, but, according to the narrator, authorities should have been cognizant of the dangers and enacted safety checks or other varieties of protection for the general public. The only way to alleviate the pain he is feeling is to take action himself and face the experts who should be working for the average person’s safety. Succumbing to the overwhelming urge to make a change in memory of his daughter, the speaker vows to refuse the “placid softness” that he sees in his fellow “federal bureaucrats” (Row 105). As a result, he decides to take matters into his own hands, eventually threatening to murder Frank Murphy, the man who refuses to pass bill to help the homeless. Inevitably his plan fails, but his actions are still reflective of the willingness to help others who are not able to help themselves. Besides affecting the action, Jolie’s death is principal to the character development and traits of the narrator.
Though the speaker is grieving, he refuses to accept the fact that his daughter has passed away. In the months following the accident all feelings, opinions, and sensations, “went right through [him]” leaving him empty inside while he suffers an “unpleasant existence” (Row 97). Unknowingly, his actions reflect the underlying emotions he is experiencing which are a result of his newly developed character traits. When experiencing immense resentment, he can feel the anger “traveling from [his] heart to the tiniest capillaries of [his] fingers and toes,” urging him to attempt fate and commit murder. His feelings throughout the story are ever-changing. There is not one moment where he feels complacent for long before he realizes the atrocities in the world that he “must change” because of his daughter’s flawless legacy. The narrator compares himself to Charles Ives’s first string quartet, adagio cantabile to convey his message: “Its inability to stay on one track seemed to mock me” (Row 98). Prior to Jolie’s death, the speaker and his family led a peaceful life that soon changes pace in an instant. The scenario has lasting effects on the family, but leaves profound consequences for the narrator.

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