Mary Gordon's City Life

Published: 2021-06-29 06:36:31
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Category: English

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In Mary Gordons "City Life" there is a girl, Beatrice, who has grown up almost trapped in a disgusting environment. It is common knowledge that when children are reared in certain environments that are uncomfortable they will either grow up and continue to live with the same conditions, or they will do everything in their power to ensure they are never around or exposed to the same discomfort again. Some kids grow up around smokers and they will have a strong hatred for cigarettes, others will be sneaking cigarettes out of their parents pack. In this story there is a girl who started to try to separate herself from the ways of her parents at a young age by hanging curtains around her 'area' in their studio apartment as a way to seclude herself from her parents filth. (Gordon393) Beatrice had grown up embarrassed of her home life and her parents, she felt more like a burden on her parents then a loved well cared for child. Beatrice used this as motivation in her own life. She had three children and a loving husband a beautiful farm house that she had transformed into a "treasure" (394)
Everything was going right at Beatrice wanted in her life, her chidren were happy and healthy, she had a lovely home, adoring husband and was haoppy, no clutter, no filth, nothing to remind her of the way she grew up. Then her husband was offered a fellowship at Columbia, he was receiving more money and the opportunity was amazing, the only thing is it would cause the whole family to move from their comfortable farmhouse into the city and into an apartment. After Beatrice carefully selected an apartment things were back on track for the Talbot family, with the only disturbances being from the children playing ball in the apartment. Little did Beatrice know that this simple act of boys being boys would cause her to come face to face with her past. Beatrice's was starting to really enjoy the city, she was able to explore museums and slowly but surely create a new fortitude of cleanliness and organization at her apartment, building another treasure for her and her family. Until one day when there was a knock at the door. Upon answering it Beatrice realized she was now standing face to face with a lifestyle she had done so much to get away from and avoid. How could things possibly be the same for her knowing that right beneath her home was someone living the same way her parents had. The filth, the clutter, the nastiness. She kept this information to herself, even got onto her children when they had not done anything wrong just to avoid having to deal with the man that lived downstairs. After the man left her she got to see how people act and talk about people who live like slobs. Her neighbor informed her of the man below hers story. That something had happened in his life that caused him to start living in that manner, this man had once been something great, a genius even and all the sudden one day he just stopped. Now the man lived in the apartment surrounding himself with trash and filth. This deeply disturbed Beatrice who then went to bed for 4 days. Scaring her husband and children with her behavior she was going to have to come up with some way of coping with this disturbing news of the life underneath her.
Comfort was what Beatrice was now lacking, how could something she loathed offer so much comfort. Knowing that everything she hated and loved was right

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