Essay PreviewMore ↓
In Amy Hempel’s story, "Today Will Be A Quiet Day," a father takes the day off to spend time with his two children at a place called "Petaluma." The title suggests that this day was one of calmness and relaxation, but in reality the title should be " A Family in Turmoil." Throughout the trip, the children argue, complain, and bicker which seems to suggest that the day is rather depressing and quite humbling for the father (Baker 170). The father’s good intentions for quality family time failed. When I first read the story, I felt that their relationships were a little detached and never quite came together.
Suffering from the death of a close friend, the boy tries to ignore his feelings and jokes on his sister. His friend was a mental patient who threw himself off a building. Being really young and unable to cope with this tragedy, the boy jokes to his sister about the bridge collapsing. "The mention of the suicide and of the bridge collapsing set a depressing tone for the rest of the story" (Baker 170). Arguments about Raisinettes force the father to settle it by saying, "you will both spoil your lunch." As their day continues, their arguments become more serious and present concern for the father who is trying to understand his children better. In complete agreement with Justin Oeltzes’ paper, "A Sad Story," I also feel that this dark foreshadowing of time to come is an indication of the author’s direct intention to write a sad story.
At lunch the children are rowdy and need to be calmed down. The father says, "Maybe we could try a little quiet today." The girl replies, "You sound like your tombstone. Remember what you wanted it to say?" Her brother joins in by saying, "Today will be a quiet day. Because it never is around us." (Hempel 1204). Shortly after completing their meal, the girl asks about her dog. "Did anyone remember to feed him?" she asks (Hempel 1205). The boy again brings death into the picture by saying that he forgot to feed the dog and then proceeds to remind her about her previous dog. She was told the dog was taken to a sheep farm where, in reality, the dog was put to sleep. Naturally, the girl began to cry.
How to Cite this Page
"A Family in Turmoil in Today Will Be A Quiet Day." 123HelpMe.com. 20 Jul 2018
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- As Bertrand Russell once said “War does not determine who is right - only who is left.” No one ever truly wins a wart. The horrors of war are devastating; both mentally and physically. The horror is not only ever present during life on the Frontline, it lives on in the survivors guilt. I believe that althought the horror of war is represented in the soldiers, we are all too quick to forget about the feelings of those at home, the friends and families, and the effects the war had on them. The effects of war are prominent throughtout the Novels “Regeneration” and “All quiet on the Western Front” and is also explored deeply in Wilfred Owen’s “Selected War Poetry”.... [tags: wilfred owens, bertrand russell]
1213 words (3.5 pages)
- Intro: US Presidents have made it a goal during their term(s) in office to establish a good relationship with foreign countries and even try to improve upon existing connections with our allies. Some believe it is to prevent conflicts between the countries while others dispute that it is a threat assessment by the United States to pick and choose their friends and enemies. Preventing conflict between two democracies or countries that practice democracy is called Democratic Peace Theory. However, research has begun to show that Democratic Peace Theory is ineffective and needs to be brought to an end as a model for how international relations are formed or destroyed.... [tags: Foreign Policy, Nuclear Turmoil]
1327 words (3.8 pages)
- Peace and Calm in Today Will Be A Quiet Day It seems that everyone thinks that all disaster has struck in Amy Hempel’s "Today Will Be A Quiet Day." I disagree. I think that everything might seem to be going bad, but when the day is over the children’s father realizes that everything is absolutely fine. The situations in the beginning of the story lead you to believe that the story will be depressing. But throughout the story I pick up little hints that this day was exactly what everybody needed: to get away from everything.... [tags: Today Will Be a Quiet Day Essays]
974 words (2.8 pages)
- The Terminal Tale of Today Will Be A Quiet Day After reading "Today Will Be A Quiet Day" by Amy Hemple, I had an eerie feeling that something bad was going on behind the scenes. I feel that the father has a terminal disease and he wants to happily live out the last few days of his life. I think that there is conclusive evidence that "Today Will Be A Quiet Day" is not a happy story, but in fact a sad one. First of all, death plays a huge role in this story. Death is brought up so many times in this story one can only conclude that there is some kind of foreshadowing going on.... [tags: Today Will Be a Quiet Day Essays]
890 words (2.5 pages)
- A Happier Tomorrow in Today Will Be a Quiet Day In the story "Today Will Be a Quiet Day" written by Amy Hempel, one may be inclined to believe that there is a tone of depression or sadness among the father and the two children. This is shown in the opening sentence, while the three are stalled in traffic on the Golden Gate Bridge. The boy states, "I think if the quake hit now the bridge would collapse and the ramps would be left" (Hempel 1202). We also learn that the boy had a best friend who committed suicide about a year before.... [tags: Today Will Be a Quiet Day Essays]
738 words (2.1 pages)
- The Uplifting Tale of Today Will Be a Quiet Day Some readers see death, but when I read the story "Today Will Be a Quiet Day" by Amy Hempel, I find it to be a light hearted, first-hand account of people coping with transition. Even its location in the table of contents under the heading "Childhood and Adolescent" (Barnet), implies that the story is not about death at all. A newly defined family, one man, a boy and a girl, is faced with the aftermath of divorce and explore among themselves the intricacies of life.... [tags: Today Will Be a Quiet Day Essays]
1114 words (3.2 pages)
- The movie The Quiet Man directed by John Ford is a far cry from the Westerns his most noted for directing however for John The Quiet Man “was the most personal film he ever made (it was also one of his favorites” (Berardinelli). In The Quiet Man John Ford brings together one of his most favorite Western actors, John Wayne, who is undeniably the central character, and the ever stunning Maureen O’Hara to brings to life a warmhearted, down-to-earth romantic comedy. He created a movie that is primarily focuses on characters and atmosphere, than on its plot, and is able to bring romance to life, not through the use of powerful dialogue, but through the use of glances and on screen tension.... [tags: The Quiet Man, John Ford]
1307 words (3.7 pages)
- All Quiet on the Western Front - A Book Review Professor’s Comments: This is a good example of a book review typically required in history classes. It is unbiased and thoughtful. The Student explains the book and the time in which it was written in great detail, without retelling the entire story… a pitfall that many first time reviewers may experience. All Quiet on the Western Front is the story of Paul Baumer’s service as a soldier in the German army during World War I. Paul and his classmates enlist together, share experiences together, grow together, share disillusionment over the loss of their youth, and the friends even experience the horrors of death-- together.... [tags: All Quiet Western Front]
1912 words (5.5 pages)
- Family Today What is a family today. What challenges does being a member of a family present while traditional family structures change. Every family has to struggle to balance the demands of work and children. Also the relationship between each spouse can become more delicate and complicated. Besides, the single parent has to face even more challenges than any other.... [tags: Papers, Family Values]
896 words (2.6 pages)
- Turmoil Over Texas During the 18th and 19th centuries, what we now know as the western United States was under much contention with the federal government. This period was very difficult for the leaders of the government to decide how to divide up the vast regions of land in the west. It seems impossible to think of Silicon Valley, Oregon or even Washington as being barren, unsettled territory. But just a few centuries ago, those in power were making influential decisions that would effect us today.... [tags: Papers]
1025 words (2.9 pages)
While at lunch the two kids were fighting and the father actually tells his children, "Who will adopt you if you do not mind your manners?" (Hempel 1204). This suggests that he is a poor parent and presents no true caring for his children. That statement is so negative and does nothing to help his children in their time of need. His intentions were good but he did not communicate well or give the proper support to his children. This is why his children were so unstable.
Throughout the story a mother is never mentioned. This could mean that she died or that the parents were divorced. If in fact she died, the children could also be suffering from post parental death syndrome, where they bring up death often to disguise their true feelings for their mother. All sorts of things can be said in interpreting this story. One, the father was a very poor parent and could not handle two children by himself. Two, because of the previous experiences with death, the children and the story are left with an appearance of dark gloom and sadness. The bright side is that the father is at least trying to become closer to his disturbed children.
A bit of irony is displayed at the conclusion of the story. The father is with his children, they are snuggled in their sleeping bags and he states he has some good news and some bad news. Being used to hearing bad news the children elect to hear it first. The father says, "I was just lying, there is no bad news." (Hempel 1206). As stated in Tara Baker’s essay, I also agree that they have been through several hard times and have faced many periods in their lives that were difficult to live through. At the end of the story the two children and their father believe that although there were bad times, there is hope for good times to come. The dark cloud that loomed over their lives is slowly going to drift away. They view the future with optimism and believe that, with patience, they will eventually be happy.
Works Cited /Consulted
Baker, Tara. "Is Today Really Quiet?" Ode to Friendship and Other Essays; Connie Bellamy: Virginia Beach, VA, 1997.
Oeltze, Justin. "A Sad Story." Ode to Friendship and Other Essays; Connie Bellamy: Virginia Beach, VA, 1997.
Hempel, Amy. "Today Will Be A Quiet Day." Harper Anthology of Fiction. Ed. Sylvan Barnet. New York: Harper Collins, 1991. 1202-1207.
Uivas, Eliseo. "Amy Hempel." A Library of Literary Criticism: Modern American Literature. Vol II Eds. Dorothy Nyren Curley, Maurice Kamer and Elaine Failker Kamer. NY: Urger, 1989.