The Writer in the Family Essay

The Writer in the Family Essay

Length: 1251 words (3.6 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Pain Shown Through Symbolism

How does one show his or her pain? Jonathan’s agony from the death of his father is

shown throughout “The Writer in the Family” by utilizing symbolism. To Jonathan, it’s as if his

father did not die a ‘complete’ death and that haunts him. This pain is shown in a unique way

throughout the story. Jonathan, as he tells this first person narrative, does not come right out and

put words to his feelings concerning his father. At the start of the story Jonathan plainly states

that his father died in 1955 and he explains the situation of how Jonathan’s aunts on his dad’s

side choose not to tell Jonathan’s grandmother about his father’s passing, but he does not reveal

the sorrow resulting from the death of his father. Instead of clearly stating Jonathan’s feelings,

Doctorow utilizes symbolism throughout the story to readdress Jonathan’s pain. The problems

with Jonathan’s father’s grave, the discomfort of Jonathan trying on clothes of his father’s and

the bad dreams Jonathan experiences are all symbols used sporadically to reflect on the pain felt

by Jonathan due to the death of his father. In “The Writer in the Family,” E.L Doctorow uses the

symbolism of the father’s missing headstone, the dreams Jonathan has of his deceased father and

Jonathan’s reactions as he tries on his father’s suit to reveal his inner conflict over his father’s

Feid 2

The first instance revealing Jonathan’s inner conflict is the image of his father’s

missing headstone. Jonathan, along with his brother, Harold, and his mother, Ruth, travel to the

cemetery one day to visit where his father, Jack, is buried. Jonathan notes, “…father’s grave was

planted with tiny shoots of evergreen but it lacked a headst...


... middle of paper ...


...d use of symbols.


Works Cited

Doctorow, E.L. “The Writer in the Family.” The Language of Literature. Ed. Arthur N.

Applebee, et al. Evanston, Ill; McDougal Littel, 2000. 1157-1164. Print.

Neil Heims, Critical Essay on “The Writer in the Family,” in Short Stories for Students. Ed. Sara

Constantakis. Vol. 27. Detroit: Gale, 2009. 273-276.

Matterson, Stephen. “Why Not Say What Happened? E.L. Doctorow’s Lives of the Poets.”

Critique. Vol. 34. No. 2. Jan. 1993. 113-125. Excepted and reprinted in Short Stories for

Students. Vol. 27. Ed. Sara Constantakis. Detroit: Gale, 2009. 281-283.

Michelle Tokarczyk, Critical Essay on “The Writer in the Family,” in Short Stories for Students.

Ed. Sara Constantakis. Vol. 27. Detroit: Gale, 2009. 273-276.

“The Writer in the Family.” Short Stories for Students. Ed. Sara Constantakis. Vol. 14.

Detroit:Gale, 2009. 263-283.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

I Am A Nurse And A Writer Essay

- So in the beginning of September, 1972 after her 18th birthday. Julie had been given 10 dollars from her foster dad and told to leave. Julie caught a bus and met with her mother. Whom she contacted previously by the return address on her letter, stating that her mother was sick and she wanted to see Julie. “Dearest Jullien, It’s your mother writing, I didn’t want to tell you like this but the hospital has discovered cancer and I would really like to see you” (Lewis 1972). Julie arrived a day later on the bus and went and met with her....   [tags: Marriage, Family, Mother, Father]

Strong Essays
711 words (2 pages)

Having The Time Of Your Life Writing Essay

- Having the Time of Your Life Writing Your Autobiography Interested in writing the story of your life, but never thought of yourself as a writer. Maybe you once had aspirations of writing, but critique, or the responsibilities of life, derailed your dream. Or do you believe that only celebrities have life experiences worth recording for posterity. Autobiography writing can be described as, “the story of your best friend told by your worst enemy.” What is discovered through participating in a weekly Autobiography Writing Workshop is that it is not about grammar or exceptional prose, grades or competition....   [tags: Writing, Family, Writer, Writing circle]

Strong Essays
1048 words (3 pages)

Essay about My Development as a Writer

- Leaning back against the window, I put my pen and notebook down and listened to the high pressured whoosh as we passed up the occasional semi. The sound was intense and almost annoying, but subconsciously, it blended together with the rest of the highway noises and became just another pitch in the drowsy hum. Everyone else was asleep by then. I had been up all night, packing and repacking, but still I thought there was no chance I could fall asleep in the middle of that day. I had never been a very good writer, but I was trying to start a letter to my family so that I could send it off easily within a few days....   [tags: literacy, family, mail,]

Strong Essays
2336 words (6.7 pages)

Dr. Seuss : My Childhood And Reading Essay

- “The more you read the more things you will know. The more that you learn the more places you’ll go” (Dr. Seuss).Throughout my childhood and reading Dr. Seuss books this quote was important in my development as a reader and writer. Growing up as an only child my parents wanted to make sure that I had all of the resources I needed to succeed, one being the ability to read and write. The quote by Dr. Seuss was highly regarded by those who wanted me to succeed in life. They wanted me learn to read and write so that I can know and experience more than they have....   [tags: Writing, Writer, Creative writing, Family]

Strong Essays
702 words (2 pages)

Biography Of Richard Wilbur 's ' The Writer ' Essay

- Father. Or lack thereof. “I wanted to grow up and plough, /To close one eye, stiffen my arm.” (“Follower” 17-18). Seamus Heaney is writing about a son; interested in following his father’s footsteps to become a farmer. The poem depicts the son’s past memories of his father. Fascinated in his father’s work, influenced by his mastery at farming, the son strives to become the same at a young age. “The Writer” on the other hand, portrays a father’s observation of his daughter, struggling to write a story as an author....   [tags: Family, Son, Daughter, Parent]

Strong Essays
1206 words (3.4 pages)

I Am A Bad Writer Essay

- A/N - I am a bad writer. Do not expect much. Disclaimer - I own nothing Today was the day. Today the Castle’s signed the paperwork that would would make them the owners of 3526 Tremain Dr. New York. After the birth of their second daughter together, Natalie 2 months ago, the loft was getting a little cramped. Many nights the loft was home to 6 people, that all needed their own space and time alone. So after much thought and hard work, Kate and her husband of 6 years Richard decided to search for a new place to call home....   [tags: Mother, Family, The Little Girl, Laughter]

Strong Essays
760 words (2.2 pages)

Essay on How I Became An Exceptional Reader And Writer

- Everyone is supposed to have a story about how he/she became the reader and writer he/she is today. For me, my story is not just about how I became an exceptional reader and writer; it is about how I became the person I am. I do not have some dark childhood story filled with depressed memories. I had a delightful childhood and cannot complain about anything that I have been through. However, I feel as if I live a life much different from all the children I knew. I grew up in a higher middle-class family within a town below the poverty line....   [tags: High school, College, Youth, Family]

Strong Essays
1045 words (3 pages)

Aldous Huxley : An Intellectual Writer Of The Highest Class Essay

- Aldous Huxley: An intellectual Writer of the Highest Class “Every man 's memory is his private literature.” (Aldous Huxley) Aldous had many traumatic life events that helped sculpt some of his greatest works. Aldous Huxley was a prestigious writer, scientific experimenter who was able to overcome his hardships and have a successful life. He had a hard childhood, had many achievements and helped change the English community. Aldous Huxley was a very well respected and wise writer, so when he brought up non-fiction topics that could become reality, it created people to ask questions and through his work helped people see to the world in a new way....   [tags: Aldous Huxley, Brave New World, Huxley family]

Strong Essays
1068 words (3.1 pages)

Analysis Of Judith Ortiz Cofer, A Cultural Writer And Storyteller Essay

- Judith Ortiz Cofer, a cultural writer and storyteller, illustrates the stereotypes depicted through gender and race, most notable in her works such as Silent Dancing and The Latin Deli: Prose and Poetry with use of Spanish to create the authenticity within her works. Judith Ortiz Cofer grew up in many homes with a loving family in Hormigueros, Puerto Rico on February 24, 1952 to parents, Jesús Ortiz Lugo and J. M. Ortiz Cofer. Since her father was in the Navy, her family [mother and brother] moved to Paterson, New Jersey....   [tags: Judith Ortiz Cofer, Family, Puerto Rico, Woman]

Strong Essays
1748 words (5 pages)

Individual Identity in Philip Roth's The Ghost Writer Essay

- Individual Identity in Philip Roth's The Ghost Writer   The idea of self, an individual authentic unique identity, seems to be constantly questioned and challenged in Philip Roth's The Ghost Writer. We are presented with several portraits of artists, writers and would be writers, whose notion of self is in some significant manner tied to their art. Rather than knitting together a unified (rehabilitated?) concept of self, aesthetic creativity, art, complicates and further problematizes the issue of identity....   [tags: Ghost Writer Essays]

Strong Essays
703 words (2 pages)