Feed on

Both Munro and Okparanta capture this well. I’m not sure which is most tragic of Munro’s “Ottawa Valley” and Okparanta’s “Fairness.” Feeling forced to make a choice that causes so much damage, or being completely out of control over a disease that does the damage for you.

Munro uses the perspective of a daughter who is struggling with the same disease she watched her mother struggle with years before. The narrator looks back at how, as a child, she was learning to handle her mother’s struggle with Parkinson’s when instead she wanted to be a normal girl.

“Is your arm going to stop shaking?” I pursued recklessly, stubbornly.

I demanded of her now, that she turn and promise me what I needed.

But she did not do it.

 The narrator blamed her mother for accepting the disease. “For I did feel it was she who decided, she gave her consent. As long as she lived and through all the changes that happened to her, and after I had received the medical explanations of what was happening I still felt secretly that she had given her consent.” But now that the narrator has the different perspective of an adult who watched her mother die and now knows that she too will face the same inevitable fate, she shakes her head at her stupidity. Her recklessness, her stubbornness. The point of view of the narrator is clouded with regret and ways that she would do things differently now, knowing how her mother must have been feeling. Perspective in this story shows the changes between the childish manner of handling things back then, and the understanding that age and experience have give her now.

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