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English Project-Polly Shao

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FC: Name: Polly Shao Block 1-3 Nov. 28th, 2012 | The Memory Keeper's Daughter By: Kim Edwards

1: "Families are like fudge mostly sweet with a few nuts." ~Author Unknown | Synopsis The story begins on a winter night in 1964, when Dr. Henry David is forced to deliver his own twins. His first-born, the son, is perfectly fine, but there is something wrong with his daughter. She has Down syndrome. At that instant, he makes a split-second decision that would affect his whole life. He asks his nurse, Caroline, to take the baby to an institution. However, she takes the baby secretly and hides in another city to raise her up as her own daughter. His wife, Norah is informed that the baby is dead and starts to escape this pain by allowing herself to dwell in her world. Their son, Paul, is neglected and tries to do everything to avoid his broken family. Through the book, the family overcomes various events by the power of love and forgiveness.

3: It's the little things that make life beautiful. | David has spent his whole life making up to Phoebe, his daughter yet also a stranger. His guilt is revealed when, “...He [had tried to] stop time or make an image powerful enough to obscure the moment when he turned and handed his daughter to Caroline Gill.”(274). Against my father's own wish, he decided to send both of us to study in Canada when we were still young and dependent. Every weekend, he would call us to ensure that everything is fine and would ask us what we want. I felt as if my dad has owed me his life because he is unable to stay with us. Similar to David, my dad feels guilty in what he can't do for us at times when we need him to comfort and encourage us. He would work like a machine just to provide us enough money. He would listen to our requests and complaints over the phone as if those are the justification to his “sin”. The phone calls seem like missions that he should complete within a limited time length or else he would suffer consequences. He buys us an overwhelming amount of cloths, food, snacks, and necessities to a point that we seem greedy and selfish. We are like the broken glasses that he pours water in but could never be filled and the love he speaks about seems mechanical and emotionless, just like a lifeless teddy bear saying "I love you" when you press the button.

5: "you make me so crazy, Norah. Why are you afraid of change? Why can't you just be and let the world unfold?" "I am," she said. "I am being. You have no idea!" "You're sticking your head in the sand. That's what I see." We tend to run away from situations when we can't understand and comprehend. We say we accept and would change for the better but we shun the truth whenever we can. Relationships are built on lies when one of them chooses to ignore and pretend nothing is wrong. Marriages are full of false appearances when none of the family members would step up and point out the problems. We shut eyes to unrighteousness and avoid getting involved in actions that will only cause us more harm than good. Norah tries to distract herself from Phoebe's death by keeping herself busy. However, she never tried to accept Phoebe's death in her life. Many grief and refuse to move on. We pretend to laugh and smile even when our hearts is bleeding. By putting band-aids (the picture) on wounds that will never quite heal, we can persuade ourselves into believing that we are perfectly fine. However, some wounds are meant to leave scars and take long time to heal. If we neglect the steps to cleaning and treating them properly, they will affect other new wounds and therefore, increase our pain.


7: "The secret had worked its way through their marriage, an insidious vine, twisting;...he'd tried not to notice, to forgive her, for her knew that in some real sense the fault was his."(274) David had suffered the lost of their marriage because of his choice regarding Phoebe. He lives in regret and desolation until the end of his life. However, his love for Norah and Paul never fails. Love can never be comprehend fully because different people have different ways in communicating their love, whether through actions, writings, or words. David chooses to stay silent in order to protect Norah. However, this silent is not fully understood by Norah and Paul. Sometimes, even a glance can mean more than saying "I love you" for countless times. We shouldn't doubt others' love because it is not visible. Receiving whatever kinds of love others give and giving them your own heart is hard when you don't feel you are loved. The fence symbolizes the love that holds the vines together and the vines, families. Even though they are exposed in all kinds of weather, the fence should never collapse or crack because of the need of the vines that it supports. No matter what form love is given in, we should trust that it is as invincible as the fence.

9: "It wasn't your fault, she said fiercely. It was nothing to do with you. But he hadn't really believed her, and he didn't now."(213) Paul had seen his family broken in pieces and could not do anything. He yearns to be capable of helping them and blames all this on himself. He is engulfed in his helplessness and can not figure why he can't help. I have seen my parents fallen apart and cried in frustration. They dedicate their lives into building up this family and keep it going but they don't seem to enjoy what they are doing. I remembered their anxiety when my brother got seriously injured on the ankle. I have sat crying alone on the stairs the first time I saw my mom's tears. Many times I tried and most of the times I fail. I feel hopeless and helpless because I can't provide comforts for my mom nor could I help my dad release his stress. I feel as if I am walking in the dark forest at the bottom right, trembling and falling as I try to find my way out of this endless cycle of failures and shame. My throat is like the black hole at the top left. Whenever I try to speak, it sucks in every word and I am left with nothing, no tears and voice. I can only accompany them and not blame myself for all this.

11: In order to persuade local schools to accept Phoebe, Caroline has to fight hard for her daughter's human rights. The government officials refer Phoebe as “Limited, the voices said. Flooding the schools. A drag on resources and on the brighter children.”(p162). I believe that each individual has certain values that are stronger than the ordinary or even the “brighter” kids and that they should receive equal education to support their learning. The want to learn is the key component to a successful learner. Hard-working students may not be as smart as others who are intelligent. However, they will have more experience and excel at the subject they spend time on. This is no different to the mentally disabled. If thy are given opportunities, they could create as much influence to the world as the normal ones. The dying sapling in the picture can bloom into a beautiful flower if it is given enough hope and love to thrive. Some examples including Helen Keller, Terry Fox, and Steven Hawking. Their abilities were supposed to be limited as we would think but they excel others and contributed to the society like no one else. As it is said, “Nothing is difficult to the man who is willing to try.” and so I believe in the possibility of anyone who would try, including the disabled.

12: Cover of the book: http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/the-memory-keeper's-daughter The Glass: http://www.123rf.com/photo_5546211_water-leaking-from-glass-photo-against-white-background.html The Teddy Bear: http://picture-insights.blogspot.ca/2011/07/i-love-you.html The Bleeding Finger: http://www.123rf.com/photo_1921696_a-bleeding-finger-with-a-bloody-band-aid.html The Vines and Fence: http://www.00ff00.com/category/daily-photo/nature/plants-and-flowers/page/4/ The Black Hole: http://www.crazyorcrazypills.com/2012/04/black-hole-of-depression.html The Rail and the Clown: http://hiphotos.baidu.com/%C9%DF%BC%A7/pic/item/6765f4a9da1ba5e3ca130c79.jpg The Dying Sapling: http://www.masterfile.com/stock-photography/image/614-02244241/Dying%20plant%20in%20a%20bucket The Flower: http://www.123rf.com/photo_14225534_beautiful-lilac-flowers-in-metal-bucket-isolated-on-white.html | Sources

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