short essay

Topics: Family, Sibling, Mother Pages: 2 (707 words) Published: November 10, 2013


Family often represents an important role in determining one’s life, whether it is ordinary or abnormal. In the short stories “House Taken Over” by Julio Cortázar  and “Coarse Sand” by Hwang Sunwŏn, each narrator makes the usual seem unusual through the everyday actions of the characters. In “House Taken Over”, the everyday routine of the siblings incorporates eerie encroachment of the ethereal “they”, making the unusual seem usual. In “Coarse Sand”, the character is depicted as someone who lives through each day great uncertainty. The reason behind these unique ways of living is associated primarily with the factor: family. In “House Taken Over,” the characters make the usual seem unusual particularly through their individual actions. The reason for the siblings’ action is mainly because of the mansion, for that it symbolically represents family. Cortázar emphasizes the presence and importance of mansion at the beginning of the story when he mentions how it “... kept the memories of great-grandparents, out paternal grandfather, our parents and the whole of childhood.”(Cortázar 1) Having to live in the mansion for a long period of time, the siblings have adopted to a repetitive routine. From cleaning the house to making lunch, then knitting and sorting stamp collections, Irene and her brother live a dull life. The characters perform banal deeds, but never seem bored by these tasks; it is the repetitive cycle the characters go through and how they respond to it that makes everything seem peculiar. Irene’s degree of obsession to knitting is unimaginable, even when her brother tells her that “...they’ve taken over the back part…” she “...let her knitting fall…” but immediately started “...picking up her knitting again”. (Cortázar 2) On the other hand, the unusual seems usual when the characters do nothing physically to prevent “them” from taking over the house. Having to lose access to part of the house already, the siblings are clearly aware of the existence...
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