Lives Of Girls And Women by Alice Munro

Powerful Essays
In The Lives of Girls and Women, the main character Del Jordan grows from a young curious child to a woman. At a young age she is very curious about her sexuality, but is forewarned by her mother to be careful about her decisions. Del's curiosity leads her into making many wrong decisions regarding men. All these wrong decisions cause her to lose everything she had worked so hard for – her goals, her dreams ruined.

Del's first relationship with a man is Art Chamberlain, who works at the Jubilee radio station and is the boyfriend of Fern Dogherty, the Jordan's resident. Chamberlain begins to grope Del secretly in the presence of others. Del thought of this as a "signal of impertinent violation, …so authoritative, clean of sentiment"(Munro 177) Del subsequently chooses to make herself vulnerable by getting into positions where Chamberlain can continuously violate her body. After all this Del still allows him to take her to a secluded place by the river, where he masturbates in front of her. Del doesn't exactly understand his actions but just the thought was horrifying. Mr. Chamberlain leaves Jubilee and Fern. Del is left feeling ashamed and violated. Del's mother uses Fern's case to warn Del against being similarly distracted by a man, and allowing it interfere with her ambitions: " Once you make that mistake, of being distracted over a man, your life will never be your own." (193)

As Del grows she become close friends with Jerry Storey, who competes with her for top marks at Jubliee High School and claims to have the highest IQ ever seen in Wawanash high schools. Jerry belittles Del's intellect, characterizing it as feminine and abstract. This uncaring relationship becomes odd when Del gets a bit to curious and ends up ...

... middle of paper ... to realize that she has to think about her decisions and what she gave up in order to be with Garnet – her identity. This is proven when she says "And already I felt my old self…in the stupid pain of loss."(263) This shows that Del lost her beliefs and values when she began dating Garnet. Addie also noticed this and confronted Del saying "You've gone addled over a boy…do you want to be the wife of a lumber yard worker..." (240) Before Del met Garnet she was a good student and because she spent so much doing what he wanted her marks dropped and lost all of her chances at getting a scholarship.

Del has many different relationships with men but does not learn from the relationship and doesn't make sure these decisions are not repeated. Del doesn't take her mothers advise to heart. In the end Del has nothing, she has not accomplish her goals, or reached her dreams.
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