The Different Ways of Coping Essay

Submitted By jssiu
Words: 1470
Pages: 6

The Different Ways of Coping The mothers present in “Four Days from Oregon” and “House”, both stories written by Madeleine Thien, share many similarities in their struggles. They were both unhappy with their lives, with Irene, from “Four Days from Oregon” battles what seems like depression and the mother from “House” has to deal with her alcoholism. They both had a lack of attention from their husbands, although Irene’s husband does nothing to comfort her and has fallen out of love with her husband, while the mother from “House” yearned for her husband to be closer to her. But this is where the similarities end; although Irene suffered from her depression, Irene chose to deal with her problems, unlike the mother from “House”, who ran away from her problems, and her children. Irene held responsibility for her children despite her illness; something the mother from “House” was unsuccessful at. The way they dealt with their problems are reflected in how their daughters grow up and lived on after their decisions. The daughters in these two stories reflect how big of an impact difficult life decisions make on the upbringing of children and how important life decisions can change their children’s mindset for their lives.
Irene’s daughters referred to her by name throughout the entire story, rather than using a more familial term like mother or mom, showing the daughters’ disconnection. This also shows that they had little respect for their mother, as most children are taught to not refer to their parents by their name as a sign of respect. They do not see her as someone responsible or an adult; the daughters called her a child because “she cried so much and had a temper.” (Thien 24) Her eldest daughter, Helen, even yelled at her after she chased off her husband, scolding her by asking: “What have you done?” (Thien 30), which shows the role reversal in Irene’s relationship with her daughters. Her daughters see her as one of their own, a child, with no control over her feelings and her temper – a child who does not think properly or has the capacity to make important decisions as an adult should. Lorraine and Kathleen, the children of the mother in “House”, on the contrary, adore their mother despite her fatal flaws. Although Lorraine is young, she understands that her mother has problems with alcohol abuse, and despite this, she romanticizes the memories she has of their mother. And although Lorraine’s mother had abandoned both her and her sister Kathleen, they wait for her at their old house on her mother’s birthday, anticipating her to return and even foolishly thinking that their mother had arrived in their father’s truck. Lorraine and Kathleen have a much more forgiving relationship with their mother in that they are willing to overlook her wrongs and will accept her back into their lives despite the heartbreak she caused them. Lorraine and Kathleen never receives reasons as to why their mother ran away or why their mother was unhappy. In the beginning of the story, Irene was extremely unhappy about her life, she told her young daughters a list of reasons why she was so unhappy. She had married young, and her relationship with her husband had changed. When she needed his help, he simply waved her off as crazy and did not do much to comfort or console her, causing her to feel a disconnection from her family and her husband. With a deteriorating relationship and emotional problem to deal with, Irene had reached a very low point in her life. It is not until she meets and start to date Tom “from Sports and Leisure” (Thien 45) behind her husband’s back, that she becomes happier again. Tom became a source of comfort for her, he did what her husband never succeeded at – running after her and consoling her about her problems when she needed from him. This shows that Irene knew a big part of the reason to why she was unhappy was because of her failing marriage and the lack of understanding and consolation from her husband. It