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Mayli Vang

creates a palpable contrast between the characters in her poem through

which she explores their methods of coping with grief. When these features are closely examined, it becomes clear that grief is slowly consuming the entire family. All of these things persist throughout their lives in spite of the fact that the father of the family has been dead for what is implied to have been many years ago.

Each character and their actions are described within their own two stanzas. The mother is described with vivid imagery that evokes a sense of loneliness and isolation.

Throughout this time, she "

keeps to the living room

this time, she " ​ keeps to the living room ​ " because she is "

" because she is "too fearful to

confront the world.

" She has isolated herself from the rest of the world, and to an extent

her family, because of the father's death. It has caused her to wallow in introspective

grief, longing for the past while sewing the phrase "

Make New Friends and Keep the Old

as Silver, the New Ones Gold

" over and over again; she repeats this because it reminds

her of the past, the only thing that she sees as able to make her happy. To her, reminiscence has become a drug.

While the mother slowly becomes more and more incapacitated by her grief, the sister handles her emotions in a much different way. She embodies the concept of working to

distract from the grief. She has become "

She has taken on the household role that is traditionally delegated to the mother. However, her mother is unable to fulfill such roles, so she has taken it unto herself. This

is why she is described as "

also slowly fed her eventual destruction, since she has taken this role, this work, to the

" However, this coping mechanism has

the perfect daughter,

" "

inhabit[ing] the kitchen.

"

the perfect daughter.

point where she is described as "

way, she is preventing herself from following the life path that she would like to pursue.

cooking her dreams away.

" By continuing to act in this

The brother deals with his grief in a manner that is very much distinctive from the rest of the family so far. He has taken to separating himself from the family, quite literally

running from his problems. He is "

nowhere to be found

" since he is "

out roaming the

world he will inherit.

" He has run from his grief, as well as the responsibility that has

fallen on him since his father's death. This method is also incredibly destructive since a refusal to face and solve one's traumas and emotions will only allow those to persist throughout one's lifetime. However, his destructive behavior does not stop here. It is

described in the next stanza that a "

chocolate.

further distract himself from the reality of his family situation.

police officer escorts him home for stealing a bar of

“ Beyond simply running from his troubles, he has resorted to petty crime to

The narrator is described as handling her grief in a relatively similar way to her sister,

with a focus on education instead of the culinary arts. She has kept her thoughts "

locked
locked
in books​
in books​

" and her dreams "

are stored on shelves,

" for they retain less prevalence in her

mind in recent years, with the forefront of her consciousness being focused on schoolwork. Simply another method of self-distraction. This also causes conflict between herself and her mother, since her mother would rather that she work to support

the family, asking her if "

[she] can eat straight A's.

"

All of these behaviors, while highly contrasting, present the different ways in which many people cope with loss, and how an excess of such behavior can lead one down a destructive path.