Themes Of The Loss Of A Harp

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The short stories “Gwilan’s Harp” written by Ursula K. LeGuin, “The Washwoman” by Isaac Singer, and “The Last Leaf” by O. Henry all show the loss of something valuable, as a theme. Each of the characters in the stories experience loss of something special to them, such as, the loss of an harp, the loss of a caring son, and the unforeseen loss of a friend. In “Gwilan’s Harp” a young harpist named Gwilan has an irreplaceable flawless harp. Unfortunately the harp gets crushed, and Gwilan’s struggles with the loss of her most prized possession. In Isaac Singer’s “The Washwoman” the elderly washwoman tells the Jewish family which employed her, about the loss of her adult son, not by death, but by embarrassment of her profession. Lastly, in “The…show more content…
LeGuin, portrays the heartbreaking life of a harpist named Gwilan. When Gwilan’s treasured instrument is destroyed in a cart crash, she loses a harp that was passed down from one great harpist to another and breaks one of her wrists, which causes arthritis in the future. After the tragedy, she agrees to marry a farmer named Torm, the man who was driving the cart that crashed and wept over the broken harp. They had two sons, neither of which inherited their mother’s musical talent, moreover, Torm and Gwilan lived peacefully together for thirty years, and when Torm falls ill and dies, Gwilan struggles with all her inner past and present losses. “I thought my harp was myself. But it was not. I thought Torm’s wife was myself, but she was not. I have nothing left… now but myself” (LeGuin). Gwilan’s musical life opened with hope and fame, and ends with loss and…show more content…
The story takes place in a town in Poland, from a young Jewish boy’s perspective of his family’s Gentile washwoman, who is the main character of this narrative. Even though the washwoman is in her seventies/eighties, she washes many families’ clothes, and displays courage through hard situations. After her long walk to the Jewish family’s home, she told them about her neglectful son over a cup of tea. She told them how her wealthy son was ashamed of washwoman as a mother, never visited her, and didn’t even invite her to his own wedding. She could of gone to a nursing home for old people, and kept her son’s respect, but instead she choose the honor of working hard. “The old woman did not want to become a burden, and so she bore her burden” (Singer). Even though her son abandoned her, and she lost him, she made a impact on the lives of those around her, including the Jewish

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