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I hated myself then, for letting a stranger into our life, for having to trust this stranger to save my father.  Smith sprinted into the woods.  Betsy hesitated, then followed him.”


In Bergman’s, “Birds of a Lesser Paradise,”  the reader comes to know a young woman who has come to know only a small town and her father’s love, and attempted to know more.  As a result of the attempt, she nearly lost what meant everything to her: her father.  Bergman’s best work in this piece was capturing essentially a father and daughter relationship, and adding the complications of a second man into the daughter’s life.  This second man named Smith, could not break the barrier around her heart that her father built.  Being raised by her father, Mae knew only one type of man.  She was guarded, but Smith broke the barrier only to seal it stronger than it was before.  Her father raised her with the best intentions, but was damaged by the death of Mae’s mother.  Mae stated that she never could see her father that way, damaged, but that all she witnessed was the quirky, confident man that she knew now.  Bird watchers, they set out to find a bird thought extinct, and renewed hope in themselves to be open to change, to possibility.  In the beginning, Mae was opposed to the journey that Smith and her father set out on, but by the end, it was not about the extinct bird, it was about extinct hope.  Hope to know that there is more out there for Mae than the small town, than a life of loneliness. The piece showed me as a reader that one who guards herself, and hurts herself by opening “the gates,” grows in herself as a person.  By the end of the piece, Mae decides to “let the world in,” because you only live once, and it’s about time she starts living.

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