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An Analysis of On the Other Hand

An Analysis of “On the Other Hand”

“On the Other Hand”, what is on the other hand? Rachel Hadas tells about the living, the dead and shows the reader the other side of usual thoughts about the dead and living. She lists the faults of the living and the virtues of the dead, in order to explain her first statement, “it is no wonder why we love the dead”. Yet, then turns everything around again in the last statement of this free verse poem. Rachel Hadas poem, “On the Other Hand” clearly depicts the many differences of the “brittle, easily wounded” living and the “patient, peaceful” dead.

In the first stanza of the poem, the dead are said to be admired in a way because of all the flaws that the living inhibit. The living are said to be “ungrateful, obsessive” and “needy, greedy, and vain”. This approach of describing the living lets the reader see a side of life that he may not have noticed before. The living usually have certain connotations with the good and the joys of life; however, “On the Other Hand” shows the other side, the negatives of the living. The living are easily hurt and non-virtues. The way the word, opacity, is used makes the reader think of the living to be cold-hearted, incapable of penetration. Hadas is obviously stating that the dead are better in comparison to the living because of the numerous imperfections of the living.

In the second stanza, Rachel Hadas, goes on to emphasize her point of the dead deserving more praise than the living by the listing of the virtues that the dead posses. While the living are “needy and greedy,” the dead are “better at resisting wishes”. Hadas also describes the dead to be “blithely”, or carefree, while the living do not have that luxury. A great amount of comparisons between the living and the dead is being accented in the second stanza of this thought-provoking poem. Such as the dead to be “deliberate”, and the living being said to be “impulsive”.

The first two stanzas of Hadas’s poem truly give the title its meaning. The reader is forced to see the other side of the usual thoughts of the living and dead. Hadas is in fact showing the reader the “other hand”, or other side of the situation. She continues this approach in the first part of the third stanza; telling of the ability that the dead have to “glide across the hours” with time being no boundary to them.

The Need For Independence in Everything That Rises Must Converge

The Need For Independence in Everything That Rises Must Converge

At some point in every parent-child relationship, the child gets to a point where he no longer wants to feel dependent upon his parent. In some cases, the child will emotionally detach himself from his parent in order to

achieve this feeling of independence. In Flannery O’Connor’s short story,

Everything That Rises Must Converge, the relationship between Julian and his

mother is a situation where the child, Julian, has tried to gain a feeling

of independence by emotionally detaching himself from his mother.

Julian’s financial dependence on his mother has made him very bitter. His

need to justify his mother’s struggle to better him by stating that she

“enjoyed the struggle” provides insight into the fact that he is a person

who doesn’t want to feel as if he owes anybody. The irony of it is that he

wishes to take care of his mother but is unable to do so. His insistence

that she keep the hat is an illustration of the fact that he wishes for her

to have more.

While Julian portrays his disapproval of his mother’s views as a matter of

right and wrong, in actuality he opposes her views in order to assert his

independence. His opposing his mother’s belief that she has “won” is backed

by self-pitying arguments. His solid based opposition of his mother’s

prejudice views is really only a way to show his mother that he has his own

independent views. The fact that he never really cares out a conversation

with any black person that he feels isn’t educated and that he never follows

out with his plan to invite them home to dinner shows that his own beliefs

aren’t solid and are based on his desire to infuriate his mother.

Julian’s need to feel intelligent is an attempt on his part to be better

than his mother. His comment on going to a “third-rate college, he had, on

his own initiative, come out with a first-rate education; in spite of

growing up dominated by a small mind [his mother’s mind], he had ended with

a large one; in spite of all her foolish views, he was free of prejudice and

unafraid to face fact,” is not only a demonstration of his need to feel

superior to his mother but is also very ironic in the fact that if any of

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