Housekeeping is a novel written by Marilynne Robinson, whose title heavily implies a deeper meaning within itself. The story is centered around two girls, Ruth and Lucille, who have been left in the hands of others as a result of their mother 's suicide. The novel is very simplistic in it’s nature paralleling the type of lifestyle that most of the members of the family live, excluding of course Molly who goes to do missionary work and China, and also Helen who drives herself off of a cliff. After the death of Helen the two sisters, Lucille and Ruth, are sent to live with their grandmother in Fingerbone. While the grandmother is a very loving person, she struggles with relaying these same ways of going about life to her daughters, Molly, Helen, and Sylvia. This is one of the first implications that “housekeeping” is something other than a title. Throughout the novel we see each character 's version of “housekeeping.”
The first character we meet is Ruth, the narrator of this story. She talks about her childhood and how she and her sister were abandoned by their two aunts that were given the responsibility of parenthood after their grandmother 's death. The death of the grandfather allowed the grandmother and the three sisters to live very simple lives, free of major responsibility but also doesn 't allow much room for the trouble of success. The grandmother goes about her life, loving for her family, until the three girls eventually leave home to make lives of their own. After the death of Helen, she is left with her two granddaughters, Ruth and Lucille, who like her aunts, were unable to be as affectionate and loving as her grandmother. The girls are with her for about five years before the grandmother passes. The...
... middle of paper ...
...to piece their home back together.
We’re presented with the thoughts on the mother, by Lucille and Ruth. Lucille likes to think that the mother was very clean and organized, very much a housekeeper, but Ruth is able to see that that wasn 't necessarily the case. She faces the reality of the situation head on, referring to her mother as the abandoner. With Sylvia, Ruth feels at home. She establishes the true meaning of housekeeping.
Marilynne Robinson does an excellent job of creating different versions of the term housekeeping in this novel. Her characters have lead me to believe that their is not one single definition of what housekeeping is. While all interpretations of the word may not be traditional or appealing to our personal thoughts, this novel allows us to see the trials of women throughout life when faced with the responsibility of maintaining a home.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- The Bible and Housekeeping The book of Genesis in the Bible presents many important people, events, and ideas that have been often been referenced to in literature and other arts. The novel Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson, published in 1980 is considered to be one of the most prominent books of the recent era. The novel is a generational saga that is told from the point of view of Ruthie, who along with her sister Lucille is abandoned at her grandmother’s house after their mother kills herself.... [tags: Bible, Old Testament, Book of Genesis, Patriarchy]
1772 words (5.1 pages)
- Transcendence in Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping William H. Burke suggests that transience in Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping is a type of pilgrimage, and that “the rigors and self-denials of the transient life are necessary spiritual conditioning for the valued crossing from the experience of a world of loss and fragmentation to the perception of a world that is whole and complete” (717). The world of reality in Housekeeping is one “fragmented, isolated, and arbitrary as glimpses one has at night through lighted windows” (Robinson 50).... [tags: Robinson Housekeeping Essays]
3779 words (10.8 pages)
- Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping - Beyond Reason Marilynne Robinson gives voice to a realm of consciousness beyond the bounds of reason in her novel Housekeeping. Possibly concealed by the melancholy but gently methodical tone, boundaries and limits of perception are constantly redefined, rediscovered, and reevaluated. Ruth, as the narrator, leads the reader through the sorrowful events and the mundane details of her childhood and adolescence. She attempts to reconcile her experiences, fragmented and unified, past, present, and future, in order to better understand or substantiate the transient life she leads with her aunt Sylvie.... [tags: Robinson Housekeeping Essays]
955 words (2.7 pages)
Emotional and Physical Isolation in Marilynne Robinson´s Housekeeping and Alfred Hitchcock´s Rear Window
- Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window and Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping both demonstrate isolation through interaction between neighbors, dialogue, setting or mise-en-scene, framing, close-ups, and camera cuts. People can be close to one another in a physical sense, but, on a deeper level, they are disconnected. They may interact and it will only be in passing. While the novel and film both demonstrate isolation, their methods in doing so differ as there are certain things each medium can do that the other cannot.... [tags: negihbors, dialogye, setting, framing, cuts]
2255 words (6.4 pages)
In Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinso, Categorical Confines: Societal Boundaries in Opposition of Happiness
- ... “She walked up the bank, and stood looking across the bridge for a moment, and then she began carefully, tie by tie, out onto it. Slowly she walked on and on, until she was perhaps fifty feet out over the water… ‘I’ve always wondered what it would be like.’” (81-82) Sylvie knows that the only way to live unrestricted is to die, much the way Helen did. In reality, however, society even places restrictions death. While the decedent may not be sentient and aware of such things, the categories of natural death, accidental death, and suicide are all seen within Housekeeping, and are a way of defining the lives of those who die after their deaths.... [tags: boundaries, suicide, happiness]
1166 words (3.3 pages)
- Throughout Marilynne Robinson’s works, readers are often reminded of themes that defy the status quo of popular ideas at the time. She explores transience and loneliness, amongst other ideas as a way of expressing that being individual, and going against what is deemed normal in society is acceptable. Robinson utilizes traditional literary devices in order to highlight these concepts. Countless times throughout Robinson’s work, the idea of the home is used as a way to contrast society’s views, and what it means to the characters of Robinson’s novels.... [tags: Literature, Novel, Literary theory, Fiction]
1914 words (5.5 pages)
- In Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead narrator and reverend John Ames seeks to transcend the isolation he feels from the title town through a letter to his son. John Ames holds the ironic role of moral leader and recluse, which leaves him alienated from the people who respect him. His isolation is a byproduct of his independence; an independence that distances him from those he loves: Jack Boughton and his son. This estrangement is represented in the text by his heart condition which prevents him from watching his son grow up, metaphorically epitomizing the damage that his years of solitude have done to him.... [tags: Grace in Marilynne Robinson’s Fiction]
1630 words (4.7 pages)
- Jackie Robinson was born in Cairo. The year Jackie was born was 1919 to a family of farmers. His Mother name is Mallie Robinson. She raised Jackie and four other of her children. They were the only black family around and people gave them a hard time about living around them since they were the only black family on the block. Jackie was the very first black baseball player ever to join the white man’s league. Jackie Robinson started playing baseball in 1947. He was the first player who played in the black man league and joined the white man team.... [tags: Jackie Robinson Essay]
856 words (2.4 pages)
- Back Back Back Back Back and GONE. This is what people heard many times when Jackie Robinson was up to bat whether they liked it or not. Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in the MLB in 1947 which changed the game of baseball forever (America’s). Jackie Robinson faced many hardships such as fans treating him harshly saying folderol while playing on the field, players treating him bad, and not having anywhere to sleep even though he was very athletic even at a very young age. Jackie Robinson was born on January 31, 1919.... [tags: Jackie Robinson Essay]
830 words (2.4 pages)
- Robinson Crusoe is a character we get to know extremely well, thanks to Daniel Defoe and his informative descriptions. Because of this we can see how Robinson's attitudes and beliefs may or may not change throughout the book. In this essay I will look at how they do or do not change, and decide on whether Robinson is a changing or unchanging character. "I was born in the year 1623, in the city of York, of a good family, though not of that country, my father being a foreigner.... [tags: Robinson Crusoe Essays]
874 words (2.5 pages)