“Summer rain is still the most comforting sound that I know. I like to pretend it’s our dead mother’s fingers, drumming on the ceiling above us. (3)” Depicting the ireperable loss of her mother, and concealed feelings of sorrow, twelve year old Ava Bigtree is the protagonist in Karen Russell’s dramatic prose “Ava Wrestles the Aligator”. Ava, lures readers into the perils of wrestling with alligators unanimously named “Seth” and exotic bird estuaries within the fun, eccentric world of Swampladia! (1). Beneath Ava’s charasmatic veneer a different kind of story is unravling. Swamplandia! signifies the mortal remainder of memory and unification with her deceased mother. Ava’s voice evokes her physchological and emotional regression into the mag...
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...sell deliberately choose Ava’s multi-dimensional name to symbolize her role as the “bird” in the estuary and the strongest linchpin between the living and the dying, namely, her families demise. When she learns of her sisters plot to commit suicide, Ava rushes to rescue her sister “When I break free of the trees and make for the pond, my whole body primed for ﬁght, there is no visible adversary to wrestle with.” As Ava charges (24) into the water she faces death head on and “wrestles the alligator” Ossie.
As Russell’s dramatic prose comes to a close, Ava decribes that the undoubted pain associated with death and mourning of a parent eventually resolves; consequently the initmate knowledge of grief remains imbedded in ones life forever “As if something were still clawing at her from within, pushing outwards, a pressure that is trying to break the skin.(25)”
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