One of the most compelling elements of this film is Vada’s obsession with death and disease, and her apparent misunderstanding of both. Living in a funeral parlour, death has been a large part of Vada’s life; this, perhaps combined with the death of her mother as a newborn, has contributed to Vada’s rather morbid view of life. Vada is an obvious hypochondriac, adopting the affliction that caused the death of the person most recently brought into the parlour. Her apparent view that the state of dying is in some way contagious or transient illustrates her misunderstanding of the concept.
Another important element in My Girl is the absence of parental attention or support in Vada’s life. Her father, preoccupied with his business and likely still grieving over his late wife’s death, is frequently unavailable to his daughter, both emotionally and otherwise. For instance, when Vada asks her father if she can have money to take a writing class, he is preoccupied with the television and barely looks at her, brushing off her request. Her father’s lack of attention has also likely influences Vada’s misconceptions about death; his response to Vada’s question about whether a particularly small casket is for a child is “no”, that it is simply for short people. Furthermore, when
Vada feigns dying one night at dinner, her father’s reaction is to ignore her... [continues]
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