Essay with an analysis and interpretation of Jane Rogers short story My Mother and her Sister

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Viktor Olesen

My Mother and her Sister

  1. Essay with an analysis and interpretation of Jane Rogers’ short story “My Mother and her Sister”

Losing a sister or a parent is very difficult to come to terms with, and death itself may even put your own life in perspective. It can make people wonder if what they have done with their lives is what they wanted to do. Did they live their lives fully, did they go the places they wanted to go, see the things they wanted to see?

In the text “My mother and her sister” by Jane Rogers, the narrator has just lost her mother, and although her aunt Lucy has lived with her since the funeral, they have not spoken about the mother at all. The mother and her sister, Lucy, seem to be two opposites, although they are sisters; the narrator recalls the holidays she and her sisters spent at aunt Lucy’s, remembers the Beatrix Potter’ish mother of her five cousins. The Lucy she remembers from her childhood was a traditional housewife, who took care of the children and the home, conjuring up delicious, healthy food, made from scratch, and knitting clothes for her children. She did not even learn how to drive a car, because her husband always did the driving. With this description, she sounds almost like the women described in text 3: “The Women of England: Their Social Duties and Domestic Habits” According to this book, a woman should always think about doing good to others. It even states that the first and last thing a woman should think about each day should be: “What can I do to make my parents, my brothers, or my sisters, more happy?” (ll. 9-10). To me, it seems like this has been Lucy’s way of living for quite some time, and she also seems to be tired of it. She was married for 49 years, although her husband did not make her happy anymore, and she cooked great, traditional meal, but when the narrator is tired of trying to impress her aunt by making dinner from scratch and consulting a recipe book, and serves her usual dinner (Indian and Italian convenience food) with wine, Lucy suddenly opens up. It is a funny coincidence (or maybe not a coincidence) that this coincides with the weather; it had rained since the funeral, and the aunt hates rain and refuses to go out, but this day, when they finally start to talk, the rain has stopped.

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They talk about the mother. She did not cook fancy dinners or marry. Instead, she had a lot of boyfriends and was optimistic. The narrator suggests that the mother envied Lucy, but I think it was the other way around; Lucy envied her sister and her lifestyle, because Lucy lost her confidence in happiness, and that made her sad. Once, she loved a man, but after she had gone to see him, she never saw him again, because “The wanting – is everything” (l.116) Once you get what you want, what you long for, it is spoiled. Picture 1: “The ...

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