The Uplifting Tale of Today Will Be a Quiet Day Essay example

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The Uplifting Tale of Today Will Be a Quiet Day

Some readers see death, but when I read the story "Today Will Be a Quiet Day" by Amy Hempel, I find it to be a light hearted, first-hand account of people coping with transition. Even its location in the table of contents under the heading "Childhood and Adolescent" (Barnet), implies that the story is not about death at all. A newly defined family, one man, a boy and a girl, is faced with the aftermath of divorce and explore among themselves the intricacies of life. The story gives us sublime but keen insight into the transition and adjustments these three people make in this story.

The children’s transition is marked by a rivalry, one that surfaces early on in the story and
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There are many inferences to what it is like stepping into the life of a parent you don’t live with but once or twice a month.

This "new" family is only new in the sense of the father’s having questions and doubts. Whether he doubts his ability to read his children or has been absent too long is not indicated, but clearly this family seems to be redefining their old relationship. The children handle it a bit differently by speaking of topics that are "old news" (such as the boy’s friend’s suicide), telling jokes, and in the case of the older sister, showing independence and maturity in deciding to drive her brother and father home.

Sylvan Barnet comments that the father may be feeling that he may not know his children (1206). As the story progresses the father gets his answers as many parents would in real life. The father is an active listener and interrupts, defends or morbidly participates in the fun of his children’s conversation. At times he is reminded of how well he knows his children when he again looses his appetite watching them eat fast. And once more when he quips, "Who would adopt you?" This means that he is stuck with these wonderful children and they are stuck with him.

One of the more poignant moments in the story is when the daughter comes to realize her gullibility in believing the family dog had escaped death to live a long happy life on a farm (Barnet 1205). It is important to realize that this "new" little family is taking care of

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