A Journey by Colm Tóibín

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”A Journey” by Colm Tóibín

Changes is a part of every normal human life, but sometimes it doesn’t change in a direction we like. When it happens that life doesn’t working out the way we hope, it’s a natural thing that we start looking back on our past. In wonder of the things we did wrong, but also just to remember a time that felt brighter and happier. A Journey by Colm Tóbin is a story that deals with a reflection about the past, and how it has affected the present.

In A Journey the reflection happens in flashbacks, that the story’s main character Mary is getting on her journey from a hospital to her home. On this hospital she has picked her son who has suffered and still suffers from a deep depression. On the same time has her husband, named Seamus, just had another stroke, and is very ill. “Now Seamus was lying upstairs in that same house. The whole right side of his body was paralyzed. That scene Mary could picture more sharply than 60 anything. Even when she read the newspaper to him, Seamus did not seem interested.[1]”
Much interests isn’t she getting from her depressed son as well, he doesn’t want to sit with her in the front seat in the car and does specifically ask her to not ask any question during their journey. Mary is therefore a lonely woman, who has to deal with a troubled present alone. A naturally reaction is to seek comfort in a brighter time in her past. She think a lot about happy memories with Seamus, her father and her son. At the same time it’s clear that she is looking back to find some kind of explanation of her misery at the same time. She can’t really find these explanations though, because she is afraid of facing what have caused the changes that have been inn he life. That we see in this quote about her son’s doctor: “He did not seem ready to answer any direct questions so Mary had asked none”.
That is what she is trying to convince herself, but the truth is probably that she is afraid of the answers he might give her.

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