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Commentary on Charles Baxter's "The Cousin"

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QUYEN NGUYEN English Composition I The Cousins (2) Charles Baxter?s ?The Cousin? concerns the narrator, named Benjamin, who does not understand people around him. ?The Cousins? describes the relationship between the narrator and his cousin, the image of Giulietta?s glasses, and the image of ?the ninth heart? to demonstrate it is not easy to understand others if we neglect them. First, through the conversation between the narrator and his cousin named Brantford, readers can see the way the narrator thought he understands Brantford, but in fact, he does not understand him at all. When Brantford told the narrator about his dream to become a concert pianist, the narrator denied that. He thinks that he knows what the best is for his cousin, but he does not understand that becoming a concert pianist is Brantford?s desire. Instead of discouraging his cousin?s dream, he should encourage Brantford tries to achieve his dream. ...read more.


The image of Giulietta?s glasses is like a wall between the narrator and his wife. He can never reach his wife?s soul. He cannot see her eyes behind those glasses. He seems to just care about what he wants and what he thinks. Even though Giulietta does not want to go to a party, he tries to convince her, even asks her to be clever at the party. Giuliette is not a person who can be funny, sparkling, or amusing. He does not even understand what Giuliette thinks and what she wants, or he may not care to understand her. He even does not know Giuliette has disappeared at the party until he goes to look for her help. At the end of the story, the narrator cannot get in his house. It is an implication of not being able to understand his family and to reach their souls. ...read more.


He thinks he knows exactly what the poet is thinking. But in fact, he does not understand at all. The evidence is that he makes the poet angry at him. What the narrator sees in people around him are just their false hearts. He does not try to reach the true one which is the door to the soul. He always thinks that he understands them and that is enough. So that is the reason no one truly feels comfortable with him. ?The Cousin? gives readers a message that it is difficult to understand the loving and caring people around. It is not easy to open the door to people?s soul. It requires a long process to understand someone. ?The Cousins? portrays the relationship between the narrator and his cousin, the image of Giulietta?s glasses, and the image of the ninth heart to prove that the way to reach people?s soul is hard. People?s neglect will never lead them to reach the souls of others. ...read more.

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