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Relationships with those we love define how we live our lives.  The relationship with our mothers, however, define how we see our lives.  Mothers instill in us a particular vision for success, for happiness.  When our mothers leave us, I can only imagine that a part of that vision leaves with them, and that we feel lost without their guidance that is a phone call away.  The protagonist in this story, “Housewifely Arts,” is a woman that lives her life for others.  She never takes a second to feel grief for herself, or to feel proud of herself.  Instead, she worried constantly about the well-being of her mother, and now she worries constantly about the happiness of her only child, Ike.  The way Bergman writes this story, without quotations, in a timeline of events; makes the reader connect with every word.  We do not dart to the quotations, making our brains believe they are more important than the long paragraph of description that follows.  Instead, we are latched onto every word, questioning what will follow, what word will be more influential than the last.  My mother has an orange winged amazon parrot, who is a medium sized green parrot with a bad attitude, and way too much to say.  His name is Bunky, and my mother considers him her first child.  I could relate to the protagonist in this story simply because, I am her.  One day, my mother will pass into God’s hands and I will be in charge of the screaming mess that is my older “sister.” Only, I wont make the mistake the author made.  I will take the bird, and I will hear my mothers laugh that Bunky has memorized, and I will love hearing her chuckle every morning over my mother’s recipe of fluffy buttermilk pancakes. The woman in the story lives her life the way that she believed her mother would have- without care for her own heart, “turning it off” at times that would involve her caring about something or someone sentimental.  Her daughter had done the same with her life, until she realized something monumental: mothers tell their daughters lies, so that their daughters can live stronger than they did.  Strength is not turning off your heart, it is appreciating the pain that makes it beat on.

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