Up the Coulee

936 WordsApr 6, 20054 Pages
Reconciliation In "Up the Coulee," Hamlin Garland depicts what occurs when Howard McLane is away for an extended period of time and begins to neglect his family. Howard's family members are offended by the negligence. Although his neglect causes his brother, Grant McLane, to resent him, Garland shows that part of having a family is being able to put aside negative feelings in order to resolve problems with relatives. Garland demonstrates how years apart can affect family relationships, causing neglect, resentment, and eventually, reconciliation. After a decade of not seeing his mother and brother, Howard returns to his hometown in Mississippi. It is evident how thrilled he is. As the train approaches town, he begins "to feel curious…show more content…
Grant's harsh feelings are justified by Howard's neglect throughout the years. Regardless of how neglectful Howard has been and how resentful Grant is towards him, family will always love one another which allow the two brothers to reconcile. The unconditional love between family leads to forgiveness and new beginnings. Howard approaches Grant in hopes of making peace with him, since they had not been getting along throughout Howard's stay. Howard suggests that Grant needs a new barn since the one he owns is small, and has "a bad smell, as of dead rats, and the rain [falls] through shingles here and there" (par. 448). After all the emotional damage Howard feels he has caused, he attempts to help his family by offering to buy the old farm back. Grant's initial reaction is to reject any aid his brother offers, because he feels it is too late; Howard had his opportunity to help out the family during the past ten years. He insists on Grant accepting his help in return for forgiveness. Grant realizes his resentment is not benefiting either one and as "the two men stood there, face to face, hands clasped," they reconcile (par. 485). As Garland demonstrates, families encounter problems such as a negligent relative, which can cause great loss and resentment. Howard's neglect causes his brother Grant to resent him. Howard attempts to make up for the damage his absence has caused and seeks forgiveness from his brother, resulting in reconciliation between the two. The beauty of

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