Harlequin Paper: “This Lullaby”
February 23, 2013
In This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen, Remy Starr is a cynical high school graduate eager to embark on her future and leave behind her past, not looking for love at all. She has seen her mother go through four previous marriages and is headed on to the fifth. She never knew her father and the only thing he left behind for her was an old song. The cynic in her is challenged when she meets Dexter, a boy who forces her to change her perspectives on love and life itself. With the family example she has had when it comes to love, the role of social networks is key in the progression of Remy’s past relationships and Remy and Dexter’s current relationship. When Remy meets Dexter, she is at a crossroads in her life. She has just graduated high school and is about to head to Stanford University in the fall. Her mother is about to get married to her fifth husband and Remy is praying that this one will last. Dexter has come to town with his band that moves around every so often and is determined to capture Remy’s heart. Once he has, Remy is decided that their relationship will only be temporary and that she will leave for Stanford in the fall with no strings attached. When it came to love, Remy did not believe in it due to the examples that had been set by her mother. Dexter, in his own unspoken way, begins to break the cold exterior of her heart and even when they were broken up, she realizes she has begun to love him. Even after her mother’s fifth marriage fails but not by her mother’s doing, Remy realizes that her perspective was all wrong. Love is not the same for everyone and that when one takes a chance when it comes to love, it can lead to something amazing. Remy’s mother, Barbara, has never had lasting relationships, a sure indicator of Remy’s reluctance to maintain a relationship of her own. She was never technically married to Remy’s biological father, Thomas Custer, and he ended up leaving her before Remy was even born. He died two years after Remy was born and only left behind a song “This Lullaby” which inspired the title of the book. Barbara would always leave her marriages when she would find something wrong with the man she married. She never had enough time to settle down with the man she married at that time and her relationships always “manifested themselves in her personality” (Dessen, 2002, p.151). Unlike Remy who liked to maintain her independence in relationships, her mother was the opposite. Remy’s mother was determined to make this fifth marriage her final one but the novel foreshadows that it will not last. At a cookout hosted by her mother, Remy decides that Don, her mother’s new husband, is an “asshole” (Dessen, 2002, p.158) for the way he treats Dexter. The next indicator is when Don and her mother are locked out of the house and Remy comes home to have Don scream at her that she needs to “learn some respect” (Dessen, 2002, p. 245) when he is exhibiting no respect for her or her mother. She leaves the home and refuses to be around the broken home that night and refuses to let herself be engrossed in the situation that just played out. The final indicator is when Remy discovers the picture of Don’s secretary on her mom’s and his bed, a sign that Don has been cheating on her mother. The novel juxtaposes Remy’s and her mother’s separate relationships. The mother who is always looking for love ends up with it being thrown back in her face while Remy who never consciously looks for love ends up with a boy who wants to turn all of that around for her. Remy and her past relationships have always been temporary, never to last. Every past relationship she has had always has about an eight week span. She becomes infatuated with a guy, mostly for just the sex, for about four weeks and she makes sure to establish that their relationship is only temporary. By week six, she starts to become annoyed at little things about their personality and behavior. By week eight, she...
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