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The Final

Death is a common theme amongst a lot of stories we’ve read throughout the course of this semester, but there are two where death is a direct source of growth in our main characters. “Mr. Green” and “The Girl Who Left Her Sock on the Floor” are both coming of age stories where the deaths of a family member impact the course of the main characters’ lives and change them. Although these characters go through similar situations with a death of a family member, the circumstances surrounding their deaths and how these deaths impact them are vastly different.

In “Mr. Green,” our narrator very clearly loved her grandfather, but she did not agree with most of his viewpoints on life. Her grandfather made many degrading/offensive/dismissive comments about women and it often made our narrator feel inadequate for the simple fact of being a woman. But even then, she made sure to help him in life and make sure he was comfortable during his dying. She stayed by his side and immediately accepted the job of taking care of Mr. Green when he finally passed. We can see the growth in this character in the way she handles the death and seems to put taking care of Mr. Green higher up on the priority list than taking the time to mourn properly. Of course she does mourn in her own way, we just don’t get to see it because she’s taking care of her grandfather’s bird.

In “The Girl Who Left Her Sock on the Floor,” Francie’s mother was clearly abusive. We see how she used to drag her out of places and yell about how much of an embarrassment she is, which leads to Francie moving out of the house for school entirely. Despite that, we as readers can assume that Francie still loved her mother on some level. Ok, maybe not loved, but she definitely felt some strong emotion. When the death was announced, Francie immediately hits the denial wall and refused to accept it. As time went on in the story, we see how Francie matures and, in her own way, grows from the moment. On page 339 we are told that Francie’s entire life has been a series of people telling her what to do and how to behave and so on and so forth. She never had much of a say in her own life, and at first, she doesn’t really know what to do with the freedom she inherits. Once she hears of her father still being alive, we see a shift in her mentality. She goes about making her own decisions and finding her own path and rebuilding herself from the past her mother left her. She grows mentally and emotionally, and even though it may take some time for her to fully overcome her past abuse, I believe Francie will be able live a full life with her father.

These two characters are only two in the many selections we’ve read, but to me, these two have had the most impact when it comes to deaths in one’s family.

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