“Romance fails us and so do friendships, but the relationship of parent and child, less noisy than all the others, remains indelible and indestructible, the strongest relationship on earth” -Theodore Reik
One True Thing is a novel that made me think about the fragility of life. One theme in this novel is death. Death is always lurking in the shadows from the first pages of the story. The entire plot is focused around the dying, death, and the impact of the death of Kate, the main character, on other characters. This book teaches the reader you should never take someone for granted. Ellen always said she never wanted her mother’s life—the life of a homemaker. Ellen has always dreamed of something bigger for her life and she had something bigger in New York until she came back to the small college town to take care of her sick mother. When she does come home, she realizes how much work it takes to be a mother, wife, and run a household, and she gains a new respect for her mother.
Another theme is mother-daughter relationships. The relationship between this mother and daughter is nothing more than the mother providing whatever the daughter needed. Ellen, the daughter, never saw her mother as anything more than a mother—the person who gave birth to her, the person who raised her, made lunches and dinner, and the person who always had a perfect house. Ellen didn’t see her mother as anything more than an appliance sometimes. Then, when Kate gets sick and Ellen comes home and spends a significant amount of time with her, Ellen realizes how interesting her mother is as person. She got to know her mother more like a friend than a mother. This theme taught me to appreciate my mother more because I had feelings about my mother similar to those of Ellen, but after reading this book, I will try to not just think of my mother as a mother, but more of a person.
... of people but the person I admire the most is my mother. She is the most important person in my life. ... She a very given person and on the other hand people loves to call her mother hand who always cares ... and fun person to hang around because she has a great sense of humor to everybody. My mother has ... to fit into every class. She is a wonderful mother, very patient, sensitive and open hearted. Being so ...
This novel didn’t have many rhetorical devices, but allusions and discussions about many well-known novels were rampant throughout. From Kate and Ellen reading Anna Karenina and discussing archetypal women characters to Ellen describing the jail as an “Andy Griffith jail” and not a Dostoyevsky jail in the first page. Symbolism was frequent in the novel. The hospital bed brought in the house for Kate to sleep in represents the start of her health really failing and her need for more help from others. Mrs. Forburg represents hope for Ellen after the arrest and everything. Jules in New York represents Ellen’s life before she came to take care of Kate and how she can return to that life after it’s all over. I think the diction is excellent because when you look at it, it is very concise, but when you read it, it sounds florid. While it might not be a good book to break down and analyze chapter by chapter, I think the content is excellent.
Michael Dorris, author of “Finding Truth as Death Looms” for the Los Angeles Times, said the ending was a “believable, satisfying conclusion”, and I agree with him. The reader could identify who overdosed the morphine, but the author didn’t come outright and state it in the text. Dorris says “…we are presented with insights and challenges to ponder..”, which I agree with because this book definitely made me think. I thoroughly enjoyed most of the novel; however, I liked the first part about the relationship between the mother, father, and daughter more than the part about after Kate died and what happens to Ellen. The ending, when Ellen meets her father, I found very satisfying because I hate books that leave the ending open for discussion. I want the author to tell the reader what happened or at least allude to it like Quindlen did in this novel so I know what happens to all the characters. I found this to be an exceptional read, one that I will share with others and read myself over and over again.
... didn’t have a happily ever after ending, Kate Chopin showed her true meaning of the ... didn’t intentionally want for this to happen, but she wasn’t like most women ... encouraged her to “write professionally” (Chopin, Kate – Introduction). Chopin started writing short stories ... female self-assertion and sexual liberation” (Chopin, Kate – Introduction). Libraries banned Chopin and her ...