Fusion of two stories through the Child’s Point of View
“Everytime a child says ‘I don’t believe in fairies,’ there’s a little fairy somewhere that falls down dead.” – Peter Pan
Peter Pan speaks so much about the goodness of our childhood as he himself is the embodiment of the child in each of us – innocence, sincerity and a positive view of the world. A child’s mind should be nurtured with utmost care and protected from all attempts of corruption. It is a pure cloth that would want to absorb the world like water. Anything might make or break a child. The experiences that we’ve had earlier in our life are defining moments that could either lead to our maturity or instill in us an incorrect perception of the world. (Becker 1992) In the stories, The Blue Room by Yanik Lahens and The First Day by Edward P. Jones, we will witness two significant moments that defined the lives of two different persons.
However, the stories are not just mere representations of a person’s earlier experiences. It is but a reflection of what defines everyone else’s reality. There are times when people perceive something to be true and valid. However, situations may bend or change these perceptions, leaving an individual with varied intensities of emotions and sometimes, changes in principles. They depend upon the significance of the perception and experience, and the subject’s world view and maturity. In this sense, the stories, The Blue Room and The First Day both have narrators who are vulnerable to these attacks of life, thus making the central theme of the stories more effective in portrayal.
The Blue Room by Yanick Lahens is a story about a little girl’s fascination for a specific room in their house which was used as a sitting room and receiving area for visitors. This room then was also used for meetings held by the adults in the house who seemed to have been involved in the political conflicts of their country. There was one time when the elders of the house feigned closure of the room in the guise of a roof repair. Curiosity led her to the discovery that it has already become a hiding place of a certain person who, to the eyes of a child, is not an entity that is human. Contrary to the fear of the elders’ disapproval, everyone seemed to have patronized her, to the point of them compromising rules imposed on the one being brought up. After which, the child has lost the sense of curiosity and mystery of the room saying, “…the very next day after that, the blue room is once again open to all. It opens its doors to the world but snatches away its secret and takes away a part of my childhood, which returns only as a faint glimmer that shimmers on the water’s surface sometimes, from a distant shore.” (Lahens 7)
This story leads us to ask, what is the significance of the room in the story? What did the author mean when the child lost her appreciation of the room? We can give all possibilities, we can say that the room is like a representation of her childhood and innocence, or more so, of her esteem in her elders. Blue can represent different things. It may be peace in a young mind or loneliness in a troubled heart. It may have been painted red at the end. Given that a child is being protected by her parents from harm in the context of a war ridden life, so many things can happen. A child may result into having a couple of misinterpretations of her parents’ intentions or having the initiative and resolve to participate in an early age. It would then be later for her to know of “a terror that either hid behind the transparency of words or concealed itself in silence. They protected themselves by hiding their fear behind a mask of innocence.” (Lahens)
On the other hand, the story The First Day by Edward P. Jones is a story of a little girl whose mother wanted to protect her child and to give her welfare utmost importance. The illiterate mother, who did not seem to receive any schooling, as evident in her manner of speaking, wishes to send her to a school named Seaton, probably a better one compared to where she ended up. The child was refused admission into the most esteemed school and thus ended up in what seemed to be a public school. There’s a catch in this story though. Although the child understands her mother’s sentiments, she seemed to be more contented at the other school, mentioning that a big school gives her such a satisfaction. The mother expressed her frustration in such as fashion mentioning that monkeys do not end up not fighting against her oppressors. When she left the girl in her new school, she sort of gave a worried reminder to the child to not leave the premises of the school without her. That was how the story ended. (Jones 4)
Although the reader would want to see the continuation of the story, it just ended there, in that scene. One would not stop wondering whether the mother went back to the school and attempted to register her disapproval on the school’s refusal and willingness to let her daughter in, or simply had her way of getting back at the school. This story is all about discrimination. The school authority seemed to have even tried to figure out the appearance of the mother and child’s dwelling place before ever accepting the girl to the school. Last question would be: did the mother ever come back for the girl?
Personally, as a child, my parents protected me to the point that I always had a different version of reality. Any form of conflict that entered the family seemed to me as a simple event that would be fixed soon. Simply put, children cannot understand things too much. They would only remember most memories of the past as fleeting; leaving a few significant ones that would define who they were in the course of their future life. They usually keep images of objects, like the objects inside the blue room and the image of the monster with a gun on his hip inside the blue room. They would only lift a few events such as the mother’s final reminder to the child which might have been the last reminder that she would ever receive from the mother. That is the only benefit that they have, they start to get to know how tough life is at a time when they are not yet ready. Even adults like us as well, can either be relatively prepared or unprepared in the different events that come upon our lives.
Life has its own ways of showing us its own intricacies. Every single event can change the disposition of anyone who is straight, anyone who is up at the first things of her life, or anyone who believed in one thing all her life but has been frustrated. It could be a toddler learning her first few steps in her life, it could be a freshman student scuttling her way during her first day in college or an immigrant knowing all the rules in her new country. Demonstrating this concept is most effective using a child’s point of view. Our younger years are moments when we were tied to the end of a rope that would try to drag us to different currents a time when life-changing events happen.
To Jones’ heroine, it would take her a lifetime to fully understand and realize that that moment was her defining moment. To Lahens,’ it is an inevitable revelation, a blow to innocence and preconceived beliefs – “only later would we learn that they were political events and that they had also changed the course of our lives.” (Lahens 8) There are things that need a great deal of maturity to be dealt with. Most of the time, whether you have it or not, they just come. You either break or are made. A little child can only understand much, she can only infer from the fragments of events that she sees. There are so many things for her that needs to be explained, much to be interpreted, and much that needs understanding. Well, we have at least two lucky individuals who lived to tell their stories.
Becker, Carol S. Living and Relating: An Introduction to Phenomenology. USA: Sage Publications, 1992.
Jones, Edward P. The First Day. USA: University of Cambridge. (N.D.) Retrieved 8 April 2009. <http://www.ccscambridge.org/UserFiles/File/The%20First%20Day.pdf>
Lahens, Yanick The Blue Room. Ancestral House: Black Short Stories in the Americas and Europe. (1995): 324-327 Retrieved 8 April 2009. <http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=51086862>