The End of the Road

1686 Words Mar 27th, 2013 7 Pages
The End of the Road
“Hell, And How I Got Here” by Brenda Medina and “Puzzle Pieces” by Barbara Parsons Lane are two short stories from the book Couldn’t Keep It To Myself by Wally Lamb. Medina and Lane are two women who are serving time in a maximum security prison. Brenda Lane is serving time for homicide and Barbara Parsons Lane is serving time for manslaughter. Brenda was involved in a gang-related killing while Barbara was convicted of killing her abusive husband. Each of these women lived their lives being subjected to abuse, yet each woman portrayed themselves differently. Brenda was determined to gain power and not feel like an outsider in her own life. She was determined to take control and she was longer going to be the “odd
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Brenda loved the feeling she had by hearing Manny beg for to stay. She felt powerful.
Feeling anything but powerful, Barbara was beginning to live a life of being controlled by an abusive husband. Mark became abusive emotionally and physically towards Barbara. The things he said to her were intended to make her feel insignificant and make her feel that she had no choice but to stay. “Some days he drinks from noon until late at night. If I challenge him or question him, I’m told I’m an ‘inconvenience’—his code for: watch out” (225). Being told she was an inconvenience by her husband happened on a regular basis. Mark was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, just like her mother. He drank alcohol in order to medicate himself and began having an affair with a fifteen year old girl. Mark openly talked about it to Barbara, adding to her feelings of inadequacy. She ended up having to quit her job because of the abuse and the unpredictability of her home life. Barbara was once again feeling imprisoned, just as she did as a child.
Brenda’s relationship with Manny was everything she was looking for. She had found her place in the world. However, Brenda was still feeling left out when it came to Manny, the gang, and their secrets. Brenda had never thought about joining a gang until she talked a “sister” of the gang. Erika persuaded Brenda to join because of the feeling of “family” the Unidad gave Erika. Brenda liked the idea and also knew she would no

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