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The Stucco House by Ellen Gilchrist

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The Stucco House by Ellen Gilchrist "The Stucco House" by Ellen Gilchrist is a story about seven year old boy named Teddy who lives with his mother and step father, Eric. Because of the existing circumstances concerning his family's relationships, especially between his mom and step dad, the boy seems "scared of everything" as seen by Eric. However this fear is not fear in the pure sense but is mixed in with other emotions such as confusion, disappointment and uncertainty. The child's true fear is losing his stepfather Eric resulting from a possible future divorce from his mother. The author implies that Teddy is a sad and disappointed with his mothers past failed marriages especially to his real father, and he is now afraid of losing his stepfather from another marital breakup. To deal with this emotion, the boy fantasizes about having his mother "go away" while he and his stepfather stay in his "stucco" house, a house he loves so dearly. Eric was not only a good father for Teddy but also "the best grown person he had ever known."(p. 41) He wasn't like others, "large, very high-strung children who never sat still or finished what they started."(p.40) Throughout the story there is also seen a subtle anxiety Teddy feels about his mother's well being. In reading "The Stucco House" we get the idea that his mother is probably an alcoholic and sexually promiscuous. Although he loves his step dad more he is genuinely worried about his mom's health and future. At the tender age of seven he could not possibly have any answers or solutions to her problems. This confusion and helplessness could elicit fear in such a young child since he, at such a tender age, sees no way out. In this story there are also subtle hints that his older brothers abuse him. The author states that he kept stuffed animals on his bed to protect him from ghosts, vampires and "to keep his big brothers from beating him up."(p. 31) We also get the feeling that his step dad also protects him from them. But, as mentioned before, Teddy is confused and disappointed more than being afraid although these emotions can mingle in so many ways in the child's mind. He is confused about the relationship of his mother and stepfather and also about his relationship with his uncle and grandparents. From the perspective of a seven year old mind, all these familial interactions cannot be understand and could never make sense to a child such as Teddy. In another part of the story, Ellen Gilchrist shows
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