This week, I was assigned the short story of “Now We Are Five”. My initial reaction to the opening few sentences was shock and sadness. Especially with it being the holiday season, I couldn’t imagine a family member of friend committing suicide.
Of all the literature I read this semester, I can compare this story and the theme of sadness to the poem “Do not go gentle into that good night”. Both pieces share the tragedy of losing a family member and the after effects it took on each authors lives. Also, both pieces have the mental anguish of wondering why. This weeks story held a lot of guilt,“Why do you think she did it?” (Sedaris), a question the author asks his father. I imagine a question a lot of people have after a tragic even life suicide strikes a family.
“Now We Are Five” used most of the rhetorical techniques. The tone was mostly sadness and, or guilt. However, one section that caught me a little off was how the author was so offended that his sister could do this to them… Is victim blaming in suicide common? He writes “Mustn’t Tiffany have hoped that whatever pills she’d taken wouldn’t be strong enough, and that her failed attempt would lead her back into our fold? How could anyone purposefully leave us, us, of all people? ” (Sedaris). He continues with stating he just couldn’t understand what could’ve been so bad to take your own life. Admitting he was not close with his sister, the guilt overtakes again.
The image and symbolism of the beach house and the short lived nostalgia of swapping stories with siblings brings bits of joy, but the looming emotion keeps bringing back the reality of the family no longer being whole. This is a very emotional read, and I feel sorry for the author who has to live with these feelings everyday.