Olive Kitteridge Essays

Words: 1484
Pages: 6

Elizabeth Strout’s novel, Olive Kitteridge, is filled with stories about the lives of regular people in Crosby, Maine. Throughout the stories, different characters are faced with adversity they are forced to deal with. While some handle their problems well and are able to cope with their hardships, others, even those with good intensions, do not find a happy ending. The story “Tulips” encapsulates the a recurring theme of the book; life is uncertain and takes us down roads upon which we had never imagined ourselves having to travel, and while these obstacles may very in their severity, it is how one is able to cope with their individual adversity that will ultimately determine their happiness. Also, the use of schadenfrude by …show more content…
Olive is put into even more agony when Henry suffers a stroke and becomes basically unresponsive. Although Olive claims that those who offer sympathy are stupid because, “we all see this stuff coming,” it is obvious that she has not predicted these events in her life. She does not know how to deal with the unexpected responsibilities placed on her after Henry’s stroke like paying bills. Because Olive cannot find comfort in the kind words and support of others, a letter received from Louise Larkin offers her the possibility of obtaining comfort in the misfortune of a women who experienced misfortune herself. In this part of the can see how the tulips represent Olive’s feelings of hope. Immediately after Henry’s stroke Strout mentions that, “the tulips bloomed in ridiculous splendor.” (146) Olive is hopeful that she will receive some sort of response from Henry, and when she does not, Christopher’s visit offers her hope for a reconnection with the son who has become a stranger to her. This reaching out for hope is signified in the fact that the tulips Olive had planted tulips at different depths and they had a, “lovely unevenness to them.” (146) While a responsive Henry would have given Olive the most hope, there is still the deeper planted hope that Christopher will comfort her. However,