Need help with my writing homework on The Gravedigger’s Daughter. Write a 1000 word paper answering; That was a grim challenge to the former high school teacher, to assist the coffins to take a restful sleep. But for the daring daughter Rebecca, it was not the end of the road, but the beginning of the efforts to scale new heights in life, under the most trying circumstances the girl of her age could think of. Even while dealing the mounds of earth, her father had not lost the intellectual fire of the teaching fraternity. But by nature he was cruel, finding it extremely difficult to cope up with the destined circumstances. He cautioned his daughter about which Joyce Carol Oates writes, (2007, p.186)”You-you are born here. They will not hurt you.” She was the only member of the family born in America and therefore, the lawful citizen of the country. She proved worthy of her heartfelt desire to be part of the American triumph. Leaving behind the grim situation of the family, she lived life in its trials, tribulations, duty and beauty to come to terms with her life. In every stage of life, at every time, she faced difficulties/tragedies that would shatter any individual. The path she chose to tread was not the rosy one. it was emotionally engaging and intellectually provocative. It was a fascinating mirror of humanity, and an individual, who was orphaned as a teenager, challenging to cross the ocean through a rudderless boat! Her past was her greatest liability to meet the challenges of the future. But she had no powers to undo it, but she was certainly not inclined to carry the ghosts, neither wanted societal pity nor the condemnation! Her past haunted her like the dark ghost. As she attained the status of a married woman and motherhood, recollection of her father’s prophetic words continued to knock at the portals of her mind. “In animal life the weak are quickly disposed of. So you must hide your weakness, Rebecca.”(p.113) Childhood abuses on development of woman’s identity are intense, and that wound may be possible to hide, but it will never heal. The shadows of the past will follow such an individual and part of one’s memory zone will retain them permanently. A series of challenges had engulfed her life—the youngest child of an impoverished German Jewish immigrant family, –ill-tempered, imbalanced, violent father, mother suffering from mental disorders, two insensitive older brothers who showed callous disregard for her well-being and finally witness the murder of her mother and suicide of her father. Violence and alcoholism were the other negative traits of the family that Rebecca had to put up with. –with the cumulative effect of all these ‘calamities’ any one would turn cynical and think that the whole world is ignoble!—but not Rebecca! She tries to find her elusive peace, and reinvent her identity with her total commitment to her child’s wellbeing. She wants to keep the dark memories of her past a well-guarded secret. The end of one misery leads to another calamity and she literally jumps from the frying pan to the fire itself. Nature releases her sufferings in installments and her cup of sorrow is ever brimming without any letup. After escaping almost being killed by her father, she marries a beer salesman, Niles Tignor, who also turns out to be physically abusive. He nearly beats her to death. she escapes with her son Zacharias. She finds support with an old man Chet Gallagher, who recognizes her son’s latent musical genius.


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