A Domestic Dilemma

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Carson McCullers takes the reader on a journey into the lives of a family plagued by alcoholism in "A Domestic Dilemma". The realism of the story is astounding, as most people will often find themselves torn when facing difficult family decisions. The Meadows' family is torn by both compassion and suffering, and Martin Meadows is faced with one of the most difficult decisions of his life. In A Domestic Dilemma, the author conveys the idea that individuals facing difficult decisions in marital relationships must act in the best interest of one's self.

The conflicts in the story surround Martin and Emily's marital relationship. It is clear that their marriage is deteriorating because of Emily's alcoholism. Emily often attempts to hide her drinking from her husband and when Martin inquires about his wife's earlier drinking, she responds "Because I drink a couple of sherries in the afternoon you're trying to make me out a drunkard." in a sharp, unforgiving tone. Martin becomes frustrated knowing that he is not able to trust his own wife with any responsibilities around the house because of her intoxication, "If you could only realize how sick I am - how bad it is for all of us." He pleads with Emily and tries to calm her often, but underneath his calm and passive mask Martin's fear and worry for his children causes him to despise Emily's behavior. "His youth was being frittered away by a drunkard's waste, his very manhood subtly undermined." Two events that worried Martin the most were when Emily was making cinnamon toast for the children, she accidentally used cayenne instead of cinnamon. Their son, Andy, took a bite of the toast and cried because it burned his mouth. The other mistake that Emily made was while bathing her baby, she dropped Marianne and cut the child's fragile head on a table. Because of Emily's ignorance and drinking her baby daughter could have died or been seriously injured. Martin Meadows also faces another conflict. His heart is wrenched in...
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