Tuesday, December 2, 2008


These personal essays all deal with loss but in different ways. The Beard essay about living with too many dogs, one of which is dying, her husband leaving her, and the people she loved in her office getting killed took a little getting used to its style. It occasionally mentioned future or past events or things that just didn't happen which was odd. However, I think it perfectly depicted the way the human mind can think at times and the way it jumps around and doesn't make sense. It felt much like a chaos narrative to some degree, like the Strayed essay. It definitely has the feel of the surreality of the moment when something that bad happens. Such sudden losses are completely different than watching a loved one slowly die of disease.

The Richards essay showed a different side of loss with the person not actually dead. Instead her grandmother was pretty much mentally decaying. It really is a sad thing to see someone in that kind of position where they can't really be left alone and they can't see how bad they have gotten. In some ways it is almost better to loose someone to a disease or accident than to sit by and watch them waste away and stop being the person you've known and loved. Having the position shift and the strong person who used to take care of you fade and need you to take care of them is disheartening to say the least.

Sedaris' essay was interesting and definitely hit home reminding me of my own family to some degree. It also reminded me somewhat of the movie Two Weeks where four siblings are forced to come together at their dying mother's house and deal with the situation. Trying to ignore the elephant in the room and pretend everything is fine while having secret conversations with each other and not really understanding their mother's position. It is different but there are some interesting similarities. This was one of the few essays that had some comedic parts to it while still keeping a serious and sad tone. That is one of my favorite kinds of stories, because it is easier to be funny all the time or serious all the time but to be able to do both in the right amounts is difficult.

The end of Strayed's essay was probably the most interesting part. She talks about how the real world and fiction are different. I like how she mentions that the real world is usually worse than the sugar coated fiction but that doesn't mean that the real world can't have good endings, they just aren't as good as the fiction. I think of it like Mark Twains quote, except not only is it true with strange things but also bad. You are more likely to find unbelievably bad things more likely in the real world than fiction. Leave the unbelievably good endings to fiction.