Being hurt emotionally by death is by far the worst kind of pain in the world. It causes one to completely shy away from doing what is right. Alice Dark’s In the Gloaming, illustrates selfishness in one character, and righteousness in another. Although this story is written in third person, it is out of Janet’s perspective. Janet plays the role of the protagonist character. She spends all of her time taking care of Laird and making him happy. Dark gives her readers many symbols and metaphors throughout her story to explain her theme. She tells a story about a family that is being pulled apart by their brothers and sons homosexuality as well as his death from AIDS. According to David Caron, “The family is an institution, and like all institutions its primary purpose is its own maintenance. AIDS, on the other hand, is the inassimilable difference that intrudes on the family.” AIDS intrudes on this family and breaks it apart, leaving Laird with only his mother left to comfort him.
...view middle of the document...
” They are able to open up to each other in a way that they never were able to before. It shows the beauty of his last days of life being spent with his mother just as the gloaming is the beauty of the last few minutes of the day itself. “In the Gloaming is about the stages of life and the knowledge that comes with that. Laird in his death, and the mother waking from the dream that was her life; they come to realizations of the truth that close a chapter on their lives.”
Martin, Lairds’ father, did not stick around after he found out Laird was gay and was dying from AIDS. He could have left for one of two reasons. He was either disappointed that his son was gay, or he could not handle getting closer to his son when he knew he was going to die. Martin regretted not sticking around. This is shown when he shows up to talk to Janet after Laird’s death about his son and how he wishes he had stayed. He was too late, because when he realized it, Laird was already dead.
Dark uses the conversation between Janet and Martin to prove her theme of this story - Do not take anything for-granted. Janet does not take anything for-granted and spends as much time as possible with her son before he dies. Martin on the other hand does not, he takes everything he has for-granted and just leaves. He does not stick around and never once comes to visit his son. Because of Martins selfishness, he will live the rest of his life full of regrets.
The gradual death of a family member should normally force a family to come closer and rally around the family member in need. That is not the case in this family. “There is no consideration given to the fact that this is happening to him-not them.” For when it is over, nothing else can ever be done about it. One must think about the outcomes of situations instead of always living in the moment. For when they closed that chapter of their lives, they lost a great page-Laird.
Caron, David. "Intrustions: Families in AIDS Films." Project Muse, 1998: 62, 70.
Dark, Alice Elliott. In the Gloaming. New York City: Sylvan Barnet, William Burto, William E. Cain, 1993.
Sententia. Shvoong. August 31, 2005. http://shvoong.com/books/novel-novella/6668-gloaming/ (accessed January 28, 2014).