English / George Bernard Shaw

George Bernard Shaw

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Autor:  anton  21 April 2011
Tags:  George,  Bernard
Words: 611   |   Pages: 3
Views: 349

George Bernard Shaw was the youngest child in his family. His father, George Carr Shaw, was a drunkard and his mother, Lucinda Elizabeth Gurly Shaw, a professional singer. When Bernard Shaw was almost 16, Lucinda left her husband, six years her senior, and moved to London with her vocal coach. Although she brought along her two daughters, she left Bernard Shaw with his father, although he later left his father and followed his family to London. His mother, while having a close relationship with his sisters, remained emotionally distant from her only son. She never even made an attempt to teach him music or send him to a University, though he was obviously bright. This distant and dysfunctional relationship with his mother is evident in the excerpt from the letter Bernard Shaw wrote concerning the death of his mother.

Shaw’s tone in the passage describing his mother’s cremation is eerily detached and cool, but still slightly caring. He describes the process as mysterious and wonderful; he seems to be fascinated by it. Through the near entirety of the description, he discusses the mystery of the process itself and seems to disregard the fact that it is his mother who is being cremated, or is at least only slightly affected by it. He approaches the event as if it were an observation of a magic trick. “And behold! The feet burst miraculously into steaming ribbons of garnet colored lovely flame… and my mother became that beautiful fire.” Shaw does not seem to be disturbed by witnessing her cremation but is rather at peace while he is admiring the beautiful transition.

At the end of the process, men are separating the ashes of the coffin and the corpse from the remaining scraps of the coffin and bone samples. Shaw describes these men as “two cooks busy at it” and the tone changes to an extremely humorous one. He even described the end as “wildly funny.” According to Shaw, his mother was observing the end of the procedure alongside him “shaking with laughter.” It is apparent Shaw has decided the remaining ashes and bone scraps are not his mother. His tone is light and contented as he describes the end of “that merry episode,” demonstrating to the reader that Shaw has accepted the death of his mother. It is perceptible from the text that although Shaw was detached from his mother, he still had strong admiration for her. He is reluctant to leave the crematorium and reminisces about the “wasted little figure with the wonderful face.” It seems after his mother’s death Shaw forgives and even begins to understand her. Shaw makes a rare connection with his mother at the end of the passage and seems in the last few lines to be forlorn about her death as he poses the question, “O grave, where is thy victory?”

Shaw was far from having the perfect relationship with his mother. Although it is evident through the passage Shaw admired her greatly, the two were distant. The manner in which Shaw describes her cremation shows this detachment and respect as well. He finds the end of the process to be amusing and as morbid as that may be, it shows an acceptance of her death. By the end of the letter, Shaw has seemed to make a sort of peace with his mother despite their dysfunctional relationship during her life. Through his connotation and detailing, Shaw gives abstract meanings to the description and reveals personal details about the circumstances of his narrative.



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