“A Journey” English Assignment Essay
Everyone and everything must die to make room for new people and other things. Destruction is after all is a form of creation. The circle of life is one of the themes Colm Toibin is dealing with in his short story about the protagonist, Mary “A Journey” from 2006. The story takes place in the protagonists, Mary’s car. She is driving home from the hospital with her depressed son, David. Before the reader hears this, we are told that David was born after nearly 20 years of marriage with Mary?s husband Seamus. David where often staying at Mrs Redmond, who is a lady living near by.
Mrs Redmond is lonely after her husband past away just before David was born. Mrs Redmond uses a lot of her time with David, and she is almost substituting her former husband with David. When Mary and David are driving home, David does not want to sit on the front seat, he prefers to stay in the back of the car. Every time Mary opens up to him and tries to start a conversation with him, he answers very shortly and the reader can clearly hear that he do not wish to speak to her. When they are driving, Colm Toibin is using the car to show the reader how Marys and David’s relationship is “There was no answer.
As a car some towards her, she dimmed her own lights, but the oncoming beams were too strong and she had to fix eyes on the margin to avoid them” (Page 2 line 40-42) It tells us that she is lowering her own guards toward David, but he keeps his guards up. Mary has a hard time not to talk to him, but she manages to keep quiet the most of the time. The narrator is a 1. person, limited narrator. That makes the reader sympathise with Mary, because the reader is hearing the story from her pov. And how tough it is to improve her bad relationship with her son.
Mary is trying really hard to improve her relationship with her son. She opens up to him, but she gets rejected. She even smokes a cigarette, so they at least have one thing that they can share. She smokes it, and tells David that she missed smoking, even though all the smoke from David?s many cigarettes makes her feel sick. She is a very loving mom “She wanted David to stay at home, no matter how grim his silences, no matter how many days he spent in his bed with the curtains drawn” She wants to be with him and take care of him no matter what.
Mary is a round character; she shows feelings and emotional depth. She is a dynamic character; “She was stuck for moment by a glimpse of a future in which she would need to muster every ounce of selfishness she had” She is realizing that she is going towards a really hard time. And she needs to be their for her husband and son, but at the same time focusing on her own needs. The circle of life is one of the biggest themes in the short story. Everything and everyone will die and be replaced by something else. As the car lights flashed against the falls of the squat, modern Catholic church at the T-junction, she remembered they had been married from the old one and wondered what it was used for now” (Page 3, line 118-120) It shows how everything is going to be removed to build something now. Colm Toibin also shows the different stages in life: first of all we have David who symbolizes the new-born child, for whom everything is new and exiting. Then we have the couple who just found out that they are having their first child, which is one of the difficult choices and stages almost everyone goes through.
Next we have the couple with their twenty year old son, who is nearing the end of their lives, and final we have Mrs Redmond?s husband who dies, but who is quickly replaced by a new person, in this case the new-born boy, David. The title “A Journey” supports the theme of the circle of life when going through the stages of life is a journey. We are told about Mary?s past in flashbacks. These flashbacks represents a much happier time in her life Back then she was happy; She had a son who was happy and she had a husband who was not paralyzed.
The reader also hears about a shop her father owned, but he sold it. She regrets that they sold it because it would be an opportunity, to prevent David from having another depression. She wants her past to become her present, but she realizes that this is impossible and she needs to take care of her son and husband no matter how hard it is going to be. Everything in life will come and go, buildings, friends and even your own life. You need to live in the present, because it is not possible to live in the past. You need to embrace life because someday it can all be over.