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Hating Oneself

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Hating Oneself

Ronald F. Currie JR.’s “Loving the Dead” is a story about a man who is filled with hurt and sadness due to the death of his grandparents. The speaker is the grandson who hates himself for not being there for his grandparents before they passed. Currie uses the word hate metaphorically for passion, because the speaker experiences strong feelings from memories that are brought on with the changes in seasons. Can we truly hate someone we love so much or is the hate aimed at oneself.
The author uses the word hate throughout the story. The reader needs to decipher between what the speaker loves and hates. When the speaker refers to “When Autumn comes, I begin to hate freely.” (p.40) It’s the readers time to decide the passion, is it love or hate. Autumn symbolizes death. The weather changes, trees shed leaves, our clocks turn back one hour, people prepare for the Holidays, and everybody is smiling. (p.40) The speaker hates this because everything reminds him of good memories that are only memories. He hates that Holidays are approaching, they remind him of his grandparents and he hates that he is the only one who feels this way.
The speaker is angry at his grandfather for taking better care of everyone else first and not taking better care of himself and for not being here anymore. “Since I cannot bear to hurt the feelings of the living, I hate the dead.” (p.41) The speaker goes on and on about what a hardworking, loving man his grandfather was. He provided a good life for his wife and seven children. The speaker has these memories of when he was three and laughing with his grandfather and they are happy. He hates him for dying but he really loves his grandfather. He hates himself for not spending more time with him.
The speaker also hates his grandmother who like his grandfather, also died from self-hatred. “I hate her for giving birth to seven children and loving them so much she could not show it until years later, indirectly by spoiling and doting on her grandchildren.” (p.43) Although he says he hates his grandmother, he loves her for all that she has done for her family. He remembers her cooking, her smell, the conversations they had. He has good memories of her yet he still says he hates the memories he has of her. The speaker remembers his last memory of her vividly, he was a senior in high school. “She has been dying for five months and I have not visited her.” (p.44) He knew she was dying but he did not visit her. He blames himself for being too busy with teenage stuff to visit her. When he finally goes to visit it is the last time he will see her alive.
Can we truly hate someone we obviously love and respect so much or is the hate aimed at oneself. No, you cannot hate someone you love, but you can hate yourself for your own disappointments. The speaker regrets not voicing his passion for his grandparents while they were alive. He is angry with himself because he cannot change the circumstances he has found himself in and he cannot change death.

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