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The Spreading Of Signs In Florens A Mercy

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The fundamental tragedy in A Mercy is Florens’s misreading of signs. When Florens begins her version of the story, she prefaces it by saying, “Let me start with what I know for certain” (Mercy, 4). This lets the readers know her first memory is important because she remembers it vividly. She recalls how her mother felt about her wearing shoes as a young girl. To her mother, wearing shoes would sexualize her and put her in danger. Florens’ “broken shoes” are a physical representation of her emotional strength and while she is with her mother in these shoes, she is protected and reliant upon her mother without a need for progression. The condition of the shoes, demonstrates her ability to grow. While she wears the broken shoes, she is dependent…show more content…
Florens tries to dream of her mother to understand her intentions when giving her up, but often finds these dreams to be about trees bearing fruit. Subconsciously, she recognizes her own growth though she doesn’t yet understand it. The dream is telling her how far she has come on her journey for self-dependence and “freedom”. Equipped with Jacob’s boots, she is now looking within for the answers, rather than to her mother, symbolizing her inner growth and strength. In the recurring dream, she relives the trauma of separation from her mother. The belief that she has been abandoned is constantly reinforced by others; “Jacob said the mother had no use for her” (Morrison, 96). Florens tries to ‘read’ the dream, literally trying to hear and understand the words she blocked out from her mother when she was a child; “In those dreams she is always wanting to tell me something. Is stretching her eyes. Is working her mouth. I look away from her” (Morrison, 101). The irony is that Florens has focus only on those signs she knows how to read, ignoring other interpretations: “Other signs need more time to understand. Often there are too many signs, or a bright omen clouds up too fast. I sort them and try to recall, yet I know that I am missing much” (Morrison,
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