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management of grief

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Steph McAlister Professor Swanson ENC 1102 19 Oct. 2010 "The Management of Grief" The face on the photo is of a boy much like Vinod; the same intelligent eyes, the same thick brows dipping into a V. But this boy's features, even his cheeks, are puffier, wider, mushier. "When they've been in water for a while, love, they look a little heavier." The bones under the skin are broken, they said on the first day. (Mukherjee 497) The imagery Bharati Mukherjee uses in this example allows the reader to feel as though they are there viewing this photo themselves. This paper will show that Mukherjee uses imagery, irony, and symbols to illustrate the grieving process of individuals during a tragic event in "The Management of Grief." June 22, 1985. 329 passengers boarded Air India 182. 280 passengers were Indian immigrants living in Canada. A man named Mr. Singh checked in his bags for the flight, an hour later, the plane departed without Mr. Singh. Air India 182 was on its way to London when it disappeared from radar. Air traffic controllers heard a crackling sound before the plane vanished. About an hour later news came in about the plane. A bomb located in the luggage cargo area exploded while the plane was 31,000 feet in the air. ...read more.


"But one has to argue with a man in uniform. He has large boils on his face. The boils swell and glow with sweat as we argue with him...I know that my parents, elderly and diabetic, must be waiting in a stuffy car in a scorching lot." (Mukherjee 497) The use of subtle irony is portrayed as an underlined meaning. The irony is not "point blank," the author makes it be known by giving the reader small innuendos. In "The Management of Grief" Shaila talks about her and her family moving to Canada to avoid the religious and political problems they were facing, when in fact, they become the victims of the issue. They face even more religious and political problems then before they moved, when they lived in India. Mukherjee also uses symbols to help the reader show the theme of the story. "I do not know where this voyage I have begun will end. I do not know which direction I will take. I dropped the package on a park bench and started walking." (Mukherjee 503) The package that she drops on the bench is a symbol for the weight of burdens that she has had on her shoulders. She has an epiphany when she realizes it is time to move on with her life. ...read more.


She is a very vivid writer giving much detail in many of her scenarios making the readers feel like they are actually there, in the story. Mukherjee is also great at using irony in small amounts throughout "The Management of Grief." It is ironic that Shaila Bhave and her family move to Canada to get away from the religious and racial issues that are all around them in India, yet, when they move to their new home there is more conflict surrounding them than before they moved. Symbols are a little harder to pinpoint in her stories. However, when symbols are found they are heartfelt and deep. The mysterious package that Shaila drops on the park bench at the end of the story is not a literal package. It is a symbol of the weight of burdens that is now lifted off her shoulders when she decides to move on with her life and let go of her past. There are some people who will argue that Mukherjee's work is boring and jumps around too much. However, most critiques argue that Mukherjee is a bold writer who steps "out-of-the-box" throughout much of her stories. Mukherjee takes all of her thoughts and ideas and puts them together in a brilliant story of how the grieving process happens in different cultural locations, and how deep down inside everyone there is a darkness that makes it impossible not to grieve over loss in their own way. ...read more.

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