Redemption Reaction Essay

Submitted By tparan
Words: 676
Pages: 3

Aadrien Thayaparan
"Redemption" reaction journal
9/9/2014
English104-401
Mr. John Rivito I believe that a death in the family affects everyone involved even if the deceased lives to ripe old age. But if the life that is snuffed out is a youngling’s and you are the one responsible for the demise then that guilt is insurmountable. This is what the main character, twelve year old Jack, has to bear. How does one redeem oneself from such guilt? I personally like to know what kind of person writes of such tragic, traumatizing, morbid stories. Then I found out that the author, John Gardner, had to endure such guilt all his life. This short story is somewhat autobiographical. In Gardner’s life his younger brother, Gilbert, was killed in a similar farming accident by him while his sister, Sandy, was watching and Gardner was only eleven years old at the time of the accident. In the short story, the main character’s name is Jack; it is another name for John. I think it is interesting that Gardner changed the other characters’ names except his. In a way, he does not want to diminish his responsibility in killing his brother. Also in the story, he writes that “even at the last moment he could have prevented his brother’s death.” As an adult writing this story at age of forty-four, Gardner still couldn’t bring himself to admit that was an accident. So the title “Redemption” is somewhat ironic, because I think that the author couldn’t redeem himself but he wanted his character, Jack, in the short story to get redemption. As we discussed in class, stories like these follow a certain outline. There were happier times when David was around. After David’s accident, the story line experiences turbulence until it hits a “new normal”. Dale, the father, who in my opinion is a kind and loving dad, becomes distant and the mother tries her best to hold everyone and everything together while she is experiencing the loss of her son and the disappearance of her husband. Jack takes the loss of his brother and the family life very deeply and his grief outlasts all others. Not until the end of the story Jack gets his “redemption”. After his father returns from his excretions and the family members find their “new normal”, Jack gets his redemption through his music. In those days, in the forties, I don’t think they had therapists. If something like this happens today, there will be a social worker, a child psychologist, a family…