top-rated free essay

all the years of her life summary

By Mahoor-Kh Oct 17, 2013 830 Words
"All the Years of Her Life" is a short story about the love a mother has for her son. The son does not appreciate his mother until the night his actions cause her emotional collapse, as he realizes the depth of her affection.

As the story begins, Sam Carr, the owner of a drugstore, asks his young employee, Alfred Higgins, if there might be some items in his coat pockets that he wants to leave on the counter before he goes home for the evening. Alfred immediately senses that something is wrong because Mr. Carr's soft tone has replaced his usual gruff manner. Mr. Carr contends that Alfred has taken two tubes of toothpaste, a compact and a lipstick, but Alfred denies stealing anything. Mr. Carr persists in his calm tone, and eventually Alfred produces the stolen items, laying them on the counter. Mr. Carr makes the assumption that this is not the first time that Alfred has stolen items, although Alfred denies any other thefts. Alfred feels the old fear rising in him since he always has trouble holding onto a job, and he suspects that he is about to lose this one too. Alfred lives with his parents, as the last child to remain at home, after the marriages of his two older brothers and the recent surprise wedding of his younger sister. Alfred knows that his parents would have an easier life if he could keep a job. Mr. Carr likes Alfred and wants to trust him, but this incident makes that impossible. Mr. Carr is conflicted about how to handle the situation. Not sure that Alfred should be arrested, Mr. Carr volunteers that he will call Alfred's father first instead of the police. Alfred says that his father works at night as a printer and will not be at home. The only other option is for Mr. Carr to call Alfred's mother, an idea to which Alfred objects. Mr. Carr places the call to Mrs. Higgins, explaining the unfortunate situation. Mr. Carr and Alfred wait in the uncomfortable, quiet darkness of the store for Alfred's mother to arrive. Finally, Mrs. Higgins arrives clutching her coat at her neck, her hair roughly shoved up under her hat. Mrs. Higgins bears an elegant composure in spite of the circumstances and acknowledges the charges from Mr. Carr. Alfred admits taking the items so that he can sell them for some extra spending money to go out with his friends. Mrs. Higgins takes in this information and places her hand on Mr. Carr's arm and asks what his intentions are. Mr. Carr had planned to phone the police, but Mrs. Higgins calmly requests that Mr. Carr pass along advice in lieu of punishment in this case. Alfred is amazed as he watches his mother interact with Mr. Carr, who relents and does not call the authorities. Mr. Carr can tell that Mrs. Higgins is a fine woman and is amenable to her suggestion to let Alfred go home with her now. Mr. Carr fires Alfred and Mrs. Higgins tells Mr. Carr that she will never forget his kindness in this matter and she and Mr. Carr part almost as if they had been good friends. Alfred has mixed emotions as he walks home at his mother's side, being relieved that he escaped severe punishment while also in awe of his mother's amazing performance in Mr. Carr's store on his behalf. Alfred at least has the good sense to keep quiet once he sees his mother's stern expression in profile. It is only when the noise of an overhead train breaks the bubble of silence that Alfred speaks and tells her that he will not get into trouble like that again. Mrs. Higgins snaps at Alfred that he has once again disgraced her, saying that he should have the decency to be quiet now. At home, Mrs. Higgins is more vocal and chastises Alfred for his continuing reprehensible behavior, and she sends him to bed with a warning not to mention the incident to his father. In his bedroom, Alfred can hear the sounds of his mother making tea in the kitchen and he walks quietly toward her and stops short by what he sees. Mrs. Higgins trembles as she tries to pour the hot water for tea, and she is so distressed that her hands can barely lift the cup to her mouth. Alfred can see his mother's face now which looks old and tired and so different from the brave countenance she displayed just a short while ago in Mr. Carr's store. Mrs. Higgins finally regains her composure and it occurs to Alfred that this same scenario must have been played out in the kitchen each time Alfred caused his mother trouble. Alfred now understands what his mother has endured and he sees all the years of her life reflected in her. trembling hands and realizes that this is the first time he has ever really seen his mother

Cite This Document

Related Documents

  • All The Years Of Her Life 1r0u47e

    ...All the Years of Her Life By Morley Callaghan Setting:  The setting of this story is not important: it could be anywhere and has no impact whatsoever on the story itself.  However,    certain clues tells us this: New York City (6th Ave. Elevated) working class area (father is a printer) 1930s-1960s Sixth Avenue Elevated ...

    Read More
  • All The Years Of Her Life Analysis

    ...In the short story, “All The Years Of Her Life” written by Morley Callaghan illustrate the idea of learning significant life lessons about the consequences of Alfred’s past actions and how it affects his mother. Throughout the story, Alfred appears to be an incompetent, immature, and shallow adolescent who experience issues with his occupa...

    Read More
  • characteristics of Mrs Higgins in all the years of her life

    ...midriff j Dr right c.f. refunded jenny_24_j handheld kidding furniture jenny_24_j invincible iron man Ben's over to talk with a US citizen your dad will freak out to talk to Tammy and he said thanx for the battlefield one then a US will be home around the kids up and everything else doing it up was July Hey man I was balling and he opioid rec...

    Read More
  • Life in Jail or No Life at All

    ...Life in Jail or No Life at All Neumann University Death is a very emotional topic and hard thing to deal with no matter what. Knowing the person or having it be a friends acquaintance you still always feel a little bit of sorrow. Everyone has someone that they love so it is hard to pick the right and the wrong sides of stories. I...

    Read More
  • Compare and Contrast: "All the Years of Her Life" and "The Gentlemen of Rio en Medio"

    ...is more important than respecting the honor of his family. And to him, every child in that village whether they're related to him or not, is his family. On the other hand, Mrs. Higgins has too close of an association with her son to the point where she sees his problems as hers. She has a proud and confident facade that hides a spirit broke...

    Read More
  • A New Perspective and All the Years of Her Life: Relationship between Mother and Child

    ...between mother and child in the stories, “A New Perspective” and “All the Years of Her Life” are closely similar and vastly different at the same time. The similarity is that the children in both of the stories have feelings of heartbreak and pity towards their mothers at the end of each of the stories, and the relationships they share w...

    Read More
  • All Year Schooling

    ...Year Round School: Friend or Foe? As seasons change, and the school year progresses, many students lose that “first day of school excitement” (I know that I do!) (parenthesis) that they once felt. So how do we regain that joy that once filled us? The answer is simple, year round school. Having school year round will enable students to...

    Read More
  • Gia and Her Life

    ...movie Gia’s sexual identity is not identified by her. She never comes out directly and states I’m a lesbian or bisexual. Even though she never had sex with a man, she never said that she wasn’t attractive to men. Gia was very open minded and was always willing to explore her sexuality. Throughout the movie growing up she was finding he...

    Read More

Discover the Best Free Essays on StudyMode

Conquer writer's block once and for all.

High Quality Essays

Our library contains thousands of carefully selected free research papers and essays.

Popular Topics

No matter the topic you're researching, chances are we have it covered.