George Bernard Shaw’s Letter to Mother
George Bernard seems to be in distress over his mother’s cremation. He seems to feel that this chosen path for her to stay at rest does not do her justice. She holds no tie to this world being a useless pile of ashes. At least having a body gives your loved ones something to come and visit at a plot in the ground. You have your unique mark, your resting place, the point you can stay at forevermore to decay. Whereas in a cremation the body is foreve3r gone, ashes are all that’s left, there is no distinction of which you are or what you were like as a person. In the text of the letter, George uses a chilling question, where he hears the voice of his mother ask him “Which of the two is heaps do you suppose is me?” This is in reference to after her cremation Shaw is looking at a pile of dust and another pile of dust that looks like an exact replicate, one of the piles however not the cremation of his mother is yet it is a pile of just that dust. The unsettling thought is that his mother asks him which one is her even he cannot point out the distinction between he two.
The dark humor connected with the details of the cremation of his mother's body is eventually reconciled with an accepting that her spirit lives on. He imagines how she would find humor in the strange event of her own cremation. The quality of humor connects Shaw and his mother in a bond that go beyond the events of death and helps Shaw understand that her spirit will never die. The reader is also released from the horror of facing the technicalities of the cremation process when "Mama's" own annotations lead us to understand that her persona and spirit will live on.
Shaw’s actual attitude towards his mother is only shown in the opening paragraphs as he describes the actual cremation as a glorious event fit for a glorious person. He marvels at the “streaming ribbons” of the “lovely flame” and is in awe as he watches the “Pentecostal tongues” lovingly and...
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