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Thread: Essay on "Death by Landscape"

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    Essay on "Death by Landscape"

    How do people cope with their pasts?
    “Death by Landscape” Margaret Atwood

    When traumatic events occur in people’s lives, it often shapes how that person turns out as an adult. Their pasts can affect them positively or negatively, and this depends on how that person copes with it. The numerous methods of dealing with harrowing past experiences all vary in success, and many books, stories, and movies display how the choice of coping affects their lives. The character Lois in the short story “Death by Landscape”, written by Margaret Atwood, shows contrasting ways of dealing with a childhood memory and how they can have effects on life.

    As people often do, Lois molds her life around an event in her past that disturbs her. During her childhood years, Lois experienced trauma when her best friend Lucy went missing, and was given the blame for it. Even though evidence in the story helps us to surmise that Lois did not kill Lucy, a sense of guilt from Lucy’s mysterious death infringes itself into her psyche; she felt as if she could of stopped it from happening. Lois “was living not one life but two: her own, and another, shadowy life that hovered around her and would not let itself be realized” (107). The immense guilt that festers inside tears her up and she starts to deteriorate into loneliness and depression, even omitting her family from her thoughts, seeming to estrange herself from everyone. Lois blames herself for her terrible past, and this illustrates one of the ways she coped with Lucy’s death. By doing this, she caused herself harm and sadness, indicating that this method is not a positive way of dealing with the past.

    Lois’ blame of herself proved an unproductive way of coping with the past because it affected her life negatively, but her other method seemed to provide closure. Often when people pass away, they create memorials and graves that represent the memory of a deceased person. Lois does something similar to this. She has pictures of nature scenes clustered all over her apartment, and it becomes evident that the pictures display the landscape where Lucy went missing. Atwood writes, “She looks at the paintings, she looks into them. Every one of them is a picture of Lucy. You can’t see her exactly, but she’s there” (118). She reaches peace with her guilt and believes that Lucy’s life exists symbolically in the paintings. This is evident in the quote, “She hears something, almost hears it: a shout of recognition, or of joy” (118). The paintings serve as Lois’ means of dealing with her uncertainty of Lucy’s death. We must note that this does not necessarily bring happiness to Lois, it simply subsides the permeation of guilt into her thoughts. We can tell the pictures don’t provide happiness to Lois because they “fill her with a wordless unease” (100). Lois believes that she has to keep Lucy’s memory because she feels guilty, so the paintings assist her as another way of coping with her traumatizing past. Since the paintings offer temporary relief from the stress caused by her memories, they provide a very successful way of coping with the past.

    The ways that Lois deals with her past reveal the ways that humans often deal with their lives. Blaming yourself for something in the past shows a negative form of coping since it brings about depression and self-loathing. But Lois’ other method of creating a representation of Lucy’s life in the paintings on her wall proved to benefit her and gave her peace. People in real life do this often with graves and memorial statues. How people cope with their pasts decides how much closure they get and obviously some methods help more than others. All in all, the fluctuating actions of human nature cause the varying ways of coping, and we must figure out the most beneficial methods to effectively cope with our pasts.

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    Edits underlined

    How do people cope with their pasts?
    “Death by Landscape” Margaret Atwood

    When traumatic events occur in a person's life, it it is vague don't use itoften shapes how that person turns out as an adult. Theiryou went from a person to their it should be his or her just pick a gender and go with it past experiencecan have a positive or negative impact on development, depending upon how the individual copes with trauma.The numerous methods of dealing with harrowing past experiences all vary in success, running onand many books, stories, and movies display how the choice of coping affects their lives. In Margaret Atwood's short story, the character Lois(in the short story “Death by Landscape”, written by Margaret Atwoodwritten by is passive voice use active voice,) shows contrasting ways of dealing with childhood memories and how these memories can impact later life. Talk about why Atwood is writing this. Is she using Lois to explore a theme about trauma? About growing up?

    As people often dotoo vague a phrase Lois molds her life around an event in her past that disturbsawk word choice her. During her childhood years, Lois experienced trauma when her best friend Lucy went missing, and was given the blame for it. Tense change should all be present tenseEven though evidence in the story helps us don't say us say the reader to surmise that Lois did not kill Lucy, a sense of guilt from Lucy’s mysterious death infringesawk word itself into her psyche; Running onshe felt as if she could of stopped it from happening. Lois “was living not one life but two: her own, and another, shadowy life that hovered around her and would not let itself be realized” (107). The immense guilt that festers inside tears her up and she starts to deteriorate into loneliness and depression, even omitting her family from her thoughts, seeming to estrange herself from everyone. Lois blames herself for her terrible past, and this illustrates isolation asone of the ways she coped copeswith Lucy’s death. By doing this, she causedcauses herself harm and sadness, indicating that this method is not a positive way of dealing with the past. Why does Atwood include this method?

    Lois’ blame of herself proves an unproductive way of coping with the past because it affects her life negatively, but her other method seems to provide closure. Often when people pass away, they create memorials and graves that represent the memory of a deceased person.awk Lois does something similar to this. She has pictures of nature scenes clustered all over her apartment, and it becomes evident that the pictures display the landscape where Lucy went missing. Atwood writes, “She looks at the paintings, she looks into them. Every one of them is a picture of Lucy. You can’t see her exactly, but she’s there” (118). She reaches peace with her guilt and believes that Lucy’s life exists symbolically in the paintings. This is evident in the quote, “She hears something, almost hears it: a shout of recognition, or of joy” (118). The paintings serve as Lois’ means of dealing with her uncertainty of Lucy’s death. We the reader not wemust note that this does not necessarily bring happiness to Lois, it simply subsides awk wordthe permeation of guilt into her thoughts. We can tell the pictures don’t provide happiness to Lois because they “fill her with a wordless unease” (100). Lois believes that she has to keep Lucy’s memory because she feels guilty, so the paintings assist her as another way of coping with her traumatizing past. Since the paintings offer temporary relief from the stress caused by her memories, they provide a very successful way of coping with the past.why included?talk about the change

    The ways that in which not thatLois deals with her past reveal the ways thatin which humans often deal withhardships in their lives. Blaming yourself no not yourself talk about Lois blaming herself for something in the past shows a negative form of coping since it brings about depression and self-loathing. But Lois’ other method of creating a representation of Lucy’s life in the paintings on her wall proved provesto benefit her and gavegives her peace. People in real life do this often with graves and memorial statues. not neededHow people cope with their pasts decides how much closure they get and obviouslydon't need some methods help more than others. All in all, the fluctuating actions of human nature cause the varying ways of coping, and we must figure out the most beneficial methods to effectively cope with our pasts.what was Atwood's theme? Why did she bother writing this and getting it published?

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    I read this story the other night. Okay then.

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