The Fear of Oblivion: Mary Cantwell's Mixed Feelings Against Her Fear of Moving on
English and Literature
Submitted By heyimcris
Crista Alejandra Rodriguez Piche
ENG 120: Dr. Kwa
The Fear of Oblivion: Mary Cantwell's mixed feelings against her fear of moving on
Mary Cantwell had an incredibly fortunate childhood, full of love and support, but mostly a great family. She describes her home as a place filled with family, love and traditions created by themselves, and besides being her home, it became her fortress but also became her own confinement place, making her a memory dependent women and scared of the outside world. Now, after 77 years in her family, the house is being sold, giving Mary the opportunity to move on. As Mary Cantwell grew older, she could have use all those special memories with her family that remained in her heart, to build a new one, instead of letting them stuck her in the past, making her stumble in life.
Growing up as blessed as Mary did, with love and support, can be the most satisfying experience, Cantwell writes "Home was where members of my family, some of whom were long gone, were forever baking apple pies, smoking pipes while patting the dog, reading The Providence Evening Bulletin and crocheting elaborate bedspreads.", since not everyone is so fortunate to have the life, and especially the childhood Mary had, additionally with the family she describes, Mary could take its own definition of 'home', and apply it with her husband and children, and show them that all things are temporary and that the family is forever, as Cantwell writes “after our morning dip our grandfather sluiced my sister and me with the garden hose. Years later my aunt's husband sluiced my daughters and, eventually, my niece after their dips.”, this clearly shows how close she was her family, and how the strong bond of love made them create a tradition that was transmitted, this is the kind of examples that Mary must transmit to her kids, to show the true value of having a loving family.
Mary also tells us how growing up in this environment so full of love and support, made her a very dependent to her family creating problems in adulthood, Cantwell writes “What in my childhood had been not only my home but also my fortress, because outside of it lurked every grade-school classmate who didn't like me, had become my prison.”, to depend on one's family is not a bad thing, but do it the way that Mary did, hiding from people and problems, didn’t let her develop the strength she needed to confront her problems, and instead she would run away from them, at the same time this generates her a lot of trouble on creating her own home, Cantwell writes “I was also incapable of calling the apartments in which I lived with my husband and, later, my children ''home.''”, as part of life, we need to grow and create our own family, as Mary did, she struggled finding the happiness she was used to get from her family , because she was too attached to the comfort feeling she used to had, that when she had to pass it on, she wasn’t able to give the same.
As an adult, Mary realized that her childhood will always hunt her, but she must be mature and move forward with her life, she could take her own experience and take note of everything her parents didn't for her to develop in the way she would have wanted to, improve it, and pass it to her children. It is important to learn to differentiate between utopias and realities, clearly Mary would like to return to the safety of her childhood and teenage years, and hide from her reality, but the right thing to do is to take control of our lives and be strong to not be controlled by the ghosts of our past. At the end we are all passengers of this life, and we must take advantage of this and leave the best for our children.