Essay Merv

Submitted By Nikrea-Thompson
Words: 1300
Pages: 6

Thompson
ENG 3U
Mr. Gordon
October 10, 2013

The Regrets that Come Along with Parenthood
Everyone has regrets, some that impact us and some that do not, regrets occur
consciously while others unconscious. Regrets that are formed in a person’s past will affect a
person’s future relationships in a negative way and influence behaviours that are deemed
unacceptable due to where you fit in a society. While some people regret the decisions made in
their past others regret who they’ve accepted into their life in the present. “Coal kisses” and
“Demeter” are two short stories that revolve around regrets. The following characters Merv,
Mellie and Demeter from the two short stories listed above, have individual regrets that impacts
the relationships that they have.
The first short story “Coal kisses” deals with conflict between Mellie and her father. The
conflict between Merv and Mellie began after her Mother “disappeared in a trail of smoke into
the lake” (Mcgill 39). This distanced the father and daughter significantly because of the
attention Merv neglected to give to Mellie, “ I was struck dumb when Merv’s bear growl spat at
the end of the line ­ slightly weaker and more bilious than I remember but still forceful: ‘I want
to see my grandsons’, he thundered. ‘Is that so wrong?” (Mcgill 39). Mellie and her two boys
get an invitation from Merv to spend Christmas at the family cottage. When Mellie shows up to
the cottage neither her or Merv greet each other with a warm welcoming. Instead Merv hits
Mellie with an insult about her new car. “Merv greets me with his trademark fox grin” ­ ‘Heard
you a mile away’ (Mcgill 39). Mellie ends up regretting her decision to visit her father on
Christmas because bad memories flood into her mind. “I didn’t need another bitter memory to

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add to the steamy pile” (Mcgill 39). Mellie remembers her childhood and how it wasn't
Christmas unless somebody cried, how Merv forgot about her and his grandsons for two years
and about her ex­husband who abandoned her and her children. This influenced Mellie to be
suspicious of Merv and his real intentions as to why he invited them to the cottage.
Merv’s attitude towards Mellie is not taken as him wanting to make up for any wrong
doings directly to her but indirectly to those close to her. Merv attempts to substitute his duty to
be a good father by trying to be a good grandfather to Mellie’s sons. Merv never mentioned
throughout the entire story that he wanted to see Mellie, he only ever mentions his grandsons. In
the story the family gathered together and Merv tells his grandsons stories about Santa. Ironically
Christmas is a time of family cheer. Yet, this family's only hope of cheerfulness are the two
young boys, Leo and Luke. Merv makes an attempt to make up for his failed fatherhood by
introducing the boys to the traditional Santa Calls that Mellie received at a young age. “Then
Santa would always call on Christmas Eve” (Mcgill 41). Merv’s intentions are good with the
introduction of the idea but he went at it in the wrong way. Merv tries clearing his conscience of
regrets by getting Mellie’s ex­husband to call as “Santa”. “After a cautious ‘Hello’ he looks,
amazed at Merv and says, ‘Dad’?” (Mcgill 41). This action insist that Merv is trying to reconnect
the boys and their father so that they do not end up with a bad taste in their mouth about that man
and so that their father does not end up regretting his decision of leaving his family.
Demeter is also a story based on regrets. Demeter is a mother to a daughter named
Elizabeth, Perry for short. The name “Demeter” gives a significant amount of information by
referring to the myth of Demeter and Persephone. It also gives references to some of the regrets
that Demeter has throughout this story and the behaviour changes she goes through. Demeter’s

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biggest regret is her daughter. She regrets having a child with her…