Sibling Rivalry in Carolin Parkhurst's, Unwell Essay

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“And oh! how often I’ve wished I could go back and recapture the glory of those precious thirteen months when it was only me!” – Carolin Parkhurst, “Unwell”. The story “Unwell” by Carolin Parkhurst shares a common subject with many other short stories – “sibling rivalry”. This subject is displayed through the lens that is the main character and narrator, Arlette. Arlette is many things, but caring is not one. Arlette is the demeaning, self-pitying, self-centred older sister of Yvonne. Arlette’s multifarious negative character traits deeply affect her relationship (or lack thereof) with her sister.

It is my belief that the main thing hindering Arlette’s relationship with Yvonne is her intentional demeaning nature. Arlette’s
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This is especially evident on page eight of the story when Arlette says, “When Stephen was lying in his hospital bed, two hours away from dying, he asked me if he could have a few minutes to say good-bye to [Yvonne] alone, and you know what I said? No, I said no. Simple as that.” Arlette’s self-centredness is demonstrated throughout the story and is paramount to the lack of a relationship with her sister. Arlette’s self-centredness widely contributes to her sister always thinking that if she wants to date someone, than Arlette will try to walk all over her and end-up going out with him. This is especially evident when Yvonne tried to date Stephen. When Yvonne brought Stephen home for dinner with her family, Arlette consistently implied that Yvonne did not deserve a boyfriend. This happened until finally, Arlette went on a picnic with Stephen and “stole” him from Yvonne.

Arlette’s negative character traits are destroying her relationship with her sister Yvonne. Her main destructive character traits include her demeaning nature which makes Yvonne feel like she is not worthy of a boyfriend. Another main negative character trait is Arlette’s self-pity. Her self-pity deters Yvonne from wanting to help Arlette. Arlette’s self-centredness makes a competing environment that makes it impossible for Yvonne to get approval from her sister. Arlette and Yvonne do not have much of a relationship. Their relationship is
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