When painful memories surface and reopen healing wounds it seems like running away from the past is the easiest path out of misery’s way. However, it would be disguising the inevitable truth that life cannot continue without people facing what they fear. In the book Animal Dreams, Barbara Kingsolver demonstrates the importance of the past and its necessary presence in lives to create a future. A character in Animal Dreams learns that moving forward in life usually means facing the past or forging head first into the present.
Codi is just one of many young women who try to run from the truth in hopes of never again confronting the problem, only to find themselves back where it all began. Codi distances herself from people in an attempt to escape her past, but finds it more difficult than she originally expected. At the Labor Day weekend fiesta people are lively and inviting. However, Codi is unenthusiastic by the thought of conversation, distances herself from the crowd and stands “near the edge of things” (59).
She both physically and emotionally distances herself from people. She has the chance to talk to Loyd, her former boyfriend, but carelessly settles that she “would have had to step on a hundred toes to get to him” (61).
She does not see Loyd as a significant part of her life any longer and discourages herself from confrontation. Codi tries to forget her secret teen pregnancy and hides the truth from everyone. However, returning to Grace, Arizona where it began brings back memories of that life-altering event she desperately wants to forget. During a casual conversation with Loyd, the father of the baby, Codi is reminded of the “child of Loyd’s that was unknown to him” (92).
Part one: 1. Holden s Hunting cap: His hat is something that makes him stand out from the crowd and society. To Holden, wearing his hat says that he s not going to be like all the rest of the phonies. It s also something that he really likes and he constantly talks about it being different. On page 22 he refers to his hat as a people shooting hat, meaning he shoots people down when he wears it ...
Saddened by her past, she thinks, “It felt furtive and strange to hold it in mind in his presence, as if I were truly holding it, and he might see it” (92).
Codi is discomforted by the thought, and is quick to push it away. However brief it may be, those reminders are enough to bring about old emotions of confusion and helplessness, things many people would much rather avoid.
Codi, like many people, allows herself to come out of the isolated skin she has been living beneath in the past and be given opportunities to find her purpose in life for her future. By teaching the children General Biology at her previous high school she forgets about painful memories that originated there and explores new areas of life, finding hope within herself. On the first day of work as a teacher at Grace High School, Codi ignores her nervousness about being accepted due to her previous experiences of rejection from fellow students and is able to present to the class a skeleton she discovered in storage to add interest to the classroom. She excitedly thinks to herself, “When I discovered her in the storage room I felt moved to dust her off and hang her up on the heavy cast-iron stand and wheel her up to my lab” (83).
Codi has not expressed enthusiasm for anything since she has returned to Grace for fear of not being accepted, and her new role as a teacher brings a bit of excitement into her life to help her on her way to self-discovery. In accepting a job as teacher Codi said to Emelina, “…standing in front of a roomful of high school students seemed to use up a ferocious amount of energy” (82).
Codi’s new teaching career forces her to overcome her fears of alienation and feel a higher level of motivation. Codi readily confronts challenges rather than running away from them like she has done in the past when the Stitch and Bitch Club decides to include facts about the practices of the mining company and its negative effects on the environment in the piñatas. When Codi is “elected…to write this epic broadside and get it mimeographed at the school” (195), instead of quickly withdrawing to her own safety, she copes with the problems and largely contributes to the efforts of the Stitch and Bitch Club. She actively participates to make the piñatas a “hot decorator item in gentrified adobe neighborhoods” (263), facing the problems involving the struggle against the mining company and deal with her tendency to run away from her own problems.
Introduction To Senior Literature- Major Essay Semester 11059 words Just as Newfoundlanders have to confront the sea, survive it, so people have to face life's traumas and find the will to go on. To what extent is Proulx saying people must 'weather the storms' of life and reconcile the past with the future? To face life's storms is not to reconcile the past with the future, meaning to be happy ...
People many times find the answers to their questions about life in their past experiences. Codi discovers a comfort in the past she has been trying to leave behind. As she continues to read the letters from her sister Hallie in Nicaragua, Codi is shocked by the realization that she was “circling above the clouds, looking for life, while Hallie was living it” (225).
Hallie wrote a convincing statement to Codi that she reflects upon to move forward in her life. “It’s the other way around, it’s what you do that makes you who you are” (224).
Codi searches for her true family history despite its extreme secrecy that gets in her way. While searching for documents in the attic of Homer, Codi and Hallie’s father, Codi comes across childhood objects she has forgotten. She openly confronts her childhood and experiences a “flash flood of memories” (282).
She realizes she has been rejecting the family she always needed and, at the same time, slowly diminishing any possibility of love for others. “He was proving we belonged here, were as pure as anybody in Grace,” thought Codi (284).
Staring at the two baby pictures of her and Hallie, Codi discovers a father in Doc Homer. Through searching for answers to her past, Codi finds a new love for life she as never felt before.
Animal Dreams is a book full of life’s challenges and the characters struggle to overcome the fear they have of the past. They soon find meaning in the past and create a future they are able to successfully embrace without the weight of burdens holding them back.