I’ve been struggling to write an essay for a scholarship I’m applying for. I took a look at my old college essays to find inspiration because I’ve been told by more than one professor that I’ve been blessed with a knack for writing essays that hit a home run. That has always been a resounding thought that I keep when I’m crafting anything literary because it made me believe that I could amount to something with my words.
The following is a reflective essay on a short story called One More Thing by Raymond Carver. Its opening sentence casts a tinge of light on what the story is about, but it’s not a necessity to understand what I’m trying to convey in the essay.
One More Thing comfortably feels like an episode taken from my life – where L.D. is my father, who possesses a pugnacious demeanor as a consequence of his alcohol abuse, Maxine is my mother, who provides what a father is usually assigned to fend for a family in a patriarchal preset, and Rae is I and my sisters, who are quick to rely on wit and logic to combat obscurity. It is actually quite refreshing to read something that is typically kept clandestinely, which sidesteps the prejudice reserved for failed marriages and broken families in the Philippines because it makes me feel that I am not alone, since other families may be experiencing something similar.
Through the story and the subsequent analysis discussed in the class, I began to understand how my father must have felt and why he acted the way he did before he left our family. For one thing, it must have been immensely emasculating for him to be stripped of his responsibilities because we admittedly live in a pseudo-patriarchal society where men feel that they should dominate but in reality, it’s the women who are capable of making significant things happen. Before he left, domestic violence was unbridled at home. My mother and I usually ended up bruised whenever expectations would not be met due to my mother’s better judgment of a situation or when I chose books over sports. As I grew older, however, I learned to fight back, using words to stun him, but still he would impose himself violently. For him to react violently could be his last resort for reinforcing his lost masculinity and his diminution of power over the family.
Because of the physical retributions I encountered for choosing to nourish my intellect, I grew up doubting my own worth. I sometimes felt that receiving awards that honored my hard work in the academe meant nothing because I neglected my physical abilities, which my environment says should be the primary objective of a boy; however, One More Thing reinforces that those who disparage people who give value to their brainpower lose at life in the end.