15 April 2010
The Various Roles of a Mother in Susan Straight’s “Mines”
Susan Straight’s short story “Mines” centers on the main character, Clarette. Clarette, like many mothers have to juggle many aspects of life at the same time. Clarette is the epitome of the hardworking woman in a “man’s world”. Straight parallels the working life and family life of Clarette to depict the struggle that mothers have to go through to provide for their families . Straight begins the story by describing all the wards of the correctional facility as “fools.” I believe that Straight’s use of the word “fools” as a means of depicting the acts that the wards either did intentionally or unintentionally to become incarcerated. Furthermore, Straight details how Clarette is put in the position of responsible adult for her nephew, Alphonso. Clarette's brother states “Take care of my boy..It’s on you.” Like many mothers, the role of both parents is thrust upon them. Clarette questions that her brother has had seventeen years to make sure that his son has gone on the right path yet once Alphonso is incarcerated he looks to his sister to guide him and protect him. As a mother, Clarette sees young men day in and out deteriorating in our prison systems causing her emotional pain. Furthermore, not only must be a mother at home but on the job also which got him a free ticket inside the facility.
In the story, Clarette’s employment is seen as a dead-end job and a burden to her emotional state. For instance her best friend, Tika questions how Clarette can emotionally stand the sight of young men incarcerated. Clarette’s response is “I make thirty-five grand.. I have bennies.” Also, Clarette states how convenient the job is to her home life. “"I work seven to three. I'm home when the kids get off the bus.” Even though being a correctional officer is not a dream job for her it is a job of necessity for her. I, like Clarette, work a job...
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