Analysis of Helen Simpson's Homework

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Wishful Thinking
“Let’s have the mum leaving the dad for a change” (Simpson 772). This line in Helen Simpson’s “Homework” is where the real story begins. In this story, a mother helps her son, George, write a paper for his English teacher, Mr. Mottram. The paper is supposed to be about a life changing event, and George does not know what to write about. The mother convinces George to write a fictional story about his parents’ divorce, despite the fact that they are still married. What the mother describes for George’s essay seems to be her dream life. She also seems to realize that it is just that, a dream, because she loves being a mother too.

In the beginning of the story, George’s mom seems to enjoy being a “work from home” mother and wife. She makes him after-school snacks and asks how his day at school went. She takes the time to listen and give her insight to things. She talks about when he was a baby and refers to him as “a lovely mild baby, like a dewdrop” (Simpson 771). This statement is pure fondness of George. She also refers to his crying as a lion’s roar. These statements lead the reader to believe she enjoys being a mother and her life. While this is going on, she is helping him find a topic for his paper. This is something only a mother who adores her child would do, as most mothers want their children to do it on their own and learn that way. When she finally decides on the topic for the paper, that is when the tone of the story changes a little bit and the reader gets to see how the mother might actually want a different life.

The mother decides to have George write about her and his father getting a divorce; however, she is going to have the mom leave the dad. This is the first hint that maybe she is not one-hundred percent happy with how her life has turned out. She gives details about how his parents were always fighting, and he was trying to block it from his mind. When she finally gets to the divorce she has the dad have custody of...
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