The Divergence in the Lives of Lori and Dena

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The divergence in the lives of Lori and Dena
Your life is what you make it. In Ron Rash’s The World Made Straight, Lori and Dena are perfect examples of this statement. Both Lori and Dena realize that their lives are rough but they are different because Lori applies herself to everything she does and makes wise decisions because she is determined to strive for a better life. However, Dena’s actions show that she does not care about where her life will end up because she does not believe it can get any better.

Lori and Dena’s lives are no fairytale. Rash’s statement “There was no driveway, just a bare spot by the house where a decade-old Mercury Comet was parked, no hubcaps and no radio antenna, a wadded rag in place of a gas cap […] If smoke had not been rising from the chimney, someone driving by [would think the house was vacant.]” [197] is evidence that Lori’s family is impoverished. Dena’s life is not any more prominent than Lori’s. Dena has been through a lot which is evident by all of the scars, marks and bruises on her body Rash depicts in his statements “[Leonard] could see the pink splotches where her skin had peeled [,]” and “He saw again the [unexplained] pink centipede-shaped welt [… and] she’d never explained her missing front teeth [either].” [69]

Unlike Dena, Lori has a lot going for herself. Rash’s remarks “[…] she always knew the answer when called upon [in class], knew it quick without a stammer [,]” [60] verifies that she is a smart girl who applies herself to school and learning. Lori makes an income working “mornings and evenings at Carter’s Café.” [64] She also volunteers at a hospital in Marshall. “‘I’m going to A-B Tech next year to become a nursing assistant [,]’” [62] Lori explained to Travis. Lori uses all of her resources and knowledge and works hard to better her life and make a good future for herself.

Not only does Lori work hard but she also makes astute decisions to make sure that she does not make any mistakes that...
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