Animal Dreams Honors Essay

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In Barbara Kingsolver's Animal Dreams, Codi Noline is a lost and directionless young woman who's always felt like she doesn't belong anywhere. Though when she finds out her father has Alzheimer's, she decides to move back to her hometown, Grace, to take care of him, and is overwhelmed with the task of sorting through her past. Codi has always resented her father, Doc Homer, for raising her and her sister to be different - when that is really just his way of bringing them closer – by pushing everyone else further away. She constantly complains about how her father never reached out, and ignores Doc Homer's attempts to express his love throughout the course of the book. The story approaches Codi as the victim, but in reality, Doc Homer is the one who suffers the most.

Throughout the story, Codi makes it clear that she has a very distant relationship with her father. She predominately calls him Doc Homer, emphasizing her view of her father as a doctor rather than a parent. This limited view shows up again when Codi asks her father for aspirin after her miscarriage. Her father cared enough to realize what was going on, and reached out the only way he knew how; by giving her the right medication, rather than the aspirin that she asked for. Yet she is blind to her father's love, and instead remarks, "This is the full measure of love he is qualified to dispense." (142) Again, she lets her view of her father as a doctor rather than a parent show through. Another sign of Codi's coldness towards her father is the endless resent for the way she was raised. She calls her and Hallie, "Children robbed of love" (50), and quips that all through her childhood, Doc Homer "was content to sail his private sea and leave me on my own." But it doesn't stop here - over and over again, she mentions her distaste for growing up under Doc Homer's roof. On page 117, she likens home to "cold drafty castle", describes her childhood as "[growing] up quietly in the dispassionate...
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