Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Strength and Weakness of the Relationship

In the novel, Lauren and her mother have a differernt sort of relationship. When reading this first part of the book, I thought the relationship was rather unhealthy. The mother seems to feed of of the daughter's sickness, telling her friends about epilepsy and telling them that Van Gogh also had it, glorifying the illness. The mother, who seems so invested in Lauren's health, wasn't even present when her first episode came about. She reads book like The New Cure for Epilepsy but when Lauren comes back for the falling school, the mother "started smoking Kent cigarettes and drinking red wine, and she had less of an interest" in Lauren (Slater 55). In the beginning of the book, the mother is described as being "too big, and occasionally, when the jasmine came on, I would also feel a lightheadedness that made my mother seem even bigger...she higher than a house, all her hair flying" (Slater 5). The mother seems unstable, thus helping to make the relationship unstable. The moment Lauren stops being "a marionette, and even hundreds of miles away it was her huge hand that held me up," the mother loses power (Slater 50). Maybe the relationship is a power struggle between mother and daughter. When Lauren has her episodes at home, she is ten years old and fragile. The mother makes her want to skate. The mother in a way makes her lie. Lauren learns "from my mother I learned that truth is bendable, that what you wish is every bit as real as what you are" (Slater 5). The mother clearly has much impact in the daughter's life and she constantly wants her approval. However, when Lauren comes back from the school, she is stronger. She talks with the salesman about eyebolts and snag hooks and she knows how to fix "the dripping kitchen sink" (Slater 54). She is now stronger then what she was prior to the trip to the school. She no longer has the bruises that symbolizes the fragility of the relationship and the bloody lips that represented power struggle between the mother and the daughter. This relationship is intense in the beginning and it is intense in the end of the section. The scale tips toward the mother in the beginning and then it goes to the daughter. The daughter wants the mother's attention and affection, however she betrays her at the first chance, an initial sign of rebellion. Then, she comes back from the school, and she doen't put as much investment into pleasing her mother. The mother ignores this change in her daughter superficially, but underneath, I believe, she really is hurt and at a loss because the new change of the relationship. The quote, "Her whole life she had fought to stay on the surface of things-to not argue with my father in public, to cover her emotions with a flashy smile-and it showed in her face, where lines of deep fatigue were grooved beneath her makeup" sums up the mother's actions toward her "new" daughter (Slater 56).

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