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Comparing Parenting In 'jesus Christ Murdeena' And "The Art Of Cooking And Serving"

1171 words - 5 pages

Parenting in modern society is a very controversial matter: what is considered too much, or not enough? While some parents are overprotective and thronging with affection towards a child, others can be emotionally vacant and lacking the capacity to care for a child. Such circumstances are apparent with one extreme occurring in the short story “Jesus Christ Murdeena” by Lynn Coady and the other extreme occurring in the short story “The Art of Cooking and Serving” by Margaret Atwood. Lynn Coady illustrates the style of parenting in which the mother is too involved and emotionally overbearing towards the daughter, Murdeena. In contrast, Margaret Atwood demonstrates the style of parenting in ...view middle of the document...

In the beginning of the story Murdeena is visualized as a young and gentle person, like a child, who “couldn’t count” (Coady, 346). It is only through the determination of her age that the reader understands that she is in fact 23 years old. The reason that Murdeena acts and appears so young is because, in contrast to “The Art of Cooking and Serving”, she is treated with too much affection, emotion, and overall parenting. Due to the fact that she is treated continuously like a baby by her mother, she begins to act like a child. Murdeena’s mother orders her to do things, “Go sit on the porch” (Coady 343), in a protective manor, ultimately causing her to lose all sense of independence and all will to have emotion. Murdeena’s mother indirectly makes Murdeena detached from her emotions because she does not want to live resembling her mother, with an abundance of uncontrolled sentiments.
The physical involvement of the mother in “The Art of Cooking and Serving” affects the daughter’s emotions significantly. The mother is hardly present in her daughter’s life, always “dozing” (Atwood, 437) and never being the parental figure she should. This affects the daughter to such a great extent that she says that her mother had an “alarming passivity” (Atwood, 437) and “neglected” (Atwood, 436) her duties as a parent. This consequently creates anger and resentment toward the mother by the daughter, thus adding an emotional barrier to the already present physical barrier. These barriers are what cause the daughter to accumulate negative emotions, such as isolation, loneliness, and abandonment. She starts to feel as though she, “couldn’t join in” (Atwood 441), a consequence of her mother’s parenting. The narrator is amassing vats of negative emotion and is becoming detached due to her mother’s vacant parenting style.

In contrast, during the story “Jesus Christ Murdeena”, there is an overwhelming physical presence of the mother, which causes Murdeena’s emotional adversities. The mother wants to constantly be with Murdeena, she is continually present and “yanks her back inside” (Coady, 349), and this causes her to want to grow apart and find some of her own personal space. Murdeena, creates a façade, causing her to collapse inside herself, growing more detached from people. The entire reason for this, contrasting “The Art of Cooking and Serving” is that she wants to have less physical time with her mother. The controlling influence of her mother pushes Murdeena away...

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