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What made “Some Have Entertained Angels, Unaware” an interesting story in my eyes was how the image of a family was completely redefined.  In the beginning there is the stereotypical setup of a family, with a mother and a father and children. One page into the story the mother dies, and after that I expected it to be a story of a struggling father raising children.  In some ways it is that story, because it is still about the girl’s relationship with her father, but it is more about how all of these other people became a part of her life and became her family.  The “boarders” that live in the house immediately are made a component of the story, and the amount of detail and time that the girl uses when describing them when recounting her childhood memories automatically makes them become a large part of her family image.  This threw me for a loop at first, since the father was still living with them.  Slowly but surely, there are hints in the story showing that the father eventually leaves them, and these people in the house become more and more important.

The feelings that the girl has towards her father are really well expressed throughout the story. They are complex because he did leave, and the biggest struggle seems to be whether or not to justify him leaving.  The girl does a better job at it than Jackie does.  On top of that, the stories about her father aren’t really told with a sense of anger or disappointment. They are almost happy childhood memories, told matter-of-factly. It is obvious that she loves her father and does miss him, and even though that is stated, the struggle of whether or not to be angry with someone when they do something that is not necessarily good is obvious.  By keeping the postcards that are sent by the father, she reveals that she does miss him, but at the same time the family continues without him.  There isn’t much sadness in him leaving, especially from Jackie.

The fact that the story is split into two chapters is pretty obvious, because the narrator sees her childhood as two chapters: life with dad and life without.  Her relationship with Mike and Jackie’s relationship with Bobby are also great because it is as if the family started over, and they split but also come together.  The role of parents got taken over by two boarders who work together in a sense to raise these children.  The close personal bond, yet the distance and feeling of independence paired with aloneness, is really shown at the end, when Mike gets a girlfriend and the story closes with the line, “I imagined he’d listen carefully, which shows you how little I was thinking of the actual man.”  It is sad to think of that kind of distance from someone, but it is also obvious that although her thoughts are stated, she still is lonely and really does miss her father.  The first person narrator is so important because the complexity of that emotion and of those relationships would be inexplicable without the reader being able to have access to her inner thoughts and emotions.

 

 

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