Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Rake: A Few Scenes from My Childhood

When you think of a rake, the first thing that comes to mind is yard work. Everyone knows that it is a utensil for cleaning up a yard, for removing small sticks and leaves. The rake, as do many other lawn care tools, has a very violent and vehement appearance. It is almost as though the teeth are a large claw connected to a sturdy stick. In The Rake: A Few Scenes from My Childhood, this simple device becomes anthropomorphic, or seems to take an animated form.
Throughout the entire story neither the boy nor his sister feel safe in the midst of their home. Constantly being blamed for whatever goes wrong within their household (around dinner time especially), they reluctantly endure living with their mother a stepfather. Though they live in their neighborhood’s “model (first built) home,” the atmosphere within the walls are anything but exemplary. The stepfather causes the children to feel there is an absence of security all around them by frequently abusing them and refusing them rights. Their mother, who, coincidentally was treated the same way by her father as a child, doesn’t offer them much help; she is the one who married the sinister man. Whenever the boy goes to visit his father on the weekends his sister always manages to get beat, hit, or slapped by the stepfather. On one occasion the mother even performed an unrighteous act towards the girl. She removed her from the lead role the night of the school play because she was too nervous to eat.
Now let’s talk more about the rake. After all, it is included in the title obviously making it an important article to the author. As I said the brother and sister are repeatedly being maltreated in an ongoing battle in which they can’t prevail against the mother and stepfather. The rake seems to symbolize one battle somewhat won by the children. Although the girl’s wound caused by the rake is the brother’s fault this time (as opposed to the oh-so-wonderful stepfather), he apologizes and the two quickly hurry inside. Also this time neither of the children are banished from the dinner table as usual nor do they manage to do something that might cause the round glass table to be shattered. The mother threatens she won’t take them to the hospital if they don’t explain what happened to the girl’s lip, but once they quietly finish their dinner she surprisingly shows signs of compassion by taking them anyway. Because of that, this childhood scene is clearly separated from the rest making it appear to be a victorious battle.

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