The Five Stage of Grief

Linda Pastan (1932)

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Literal Comprehension: When the speaker lost her husband, someone suggests that she should go through the five stages of grief. First of them was denial. She denied his absence and gave him the toast and the paper at the breakfast table. But he hides behind the paper. Then she was angry. Therefore she burned to the toast and took the paper from his hand forcefully and start to read it herself. The third stage was bargaining. What could she exchange for him? What would she gain if she remains silent after quarreling? Before she decided she was depressed (sad). Their relation was poor and weak. Then she hopes for improvement but it was useless. Afterward, she accepted his loss but she realizes that the matter did not end there. It starts again because in conjugal life this kind of grief is repetitive.

Interpretation: This poem might be trying to tell us that the relation between the husband and the wife is always changing. They can not always live happily compromising with reality. In their life grief is a circular staircase.

Critical Thinking: Linda Pastan has clearly expressed the bitter experience of a married woman when her relationship with her husband becomes bad. This poem is in the form of prose. It sounds like drama. The speaker is addressing her husband and pouring her emotions. The poet has use green and neon for “flickering hope.”

Assimilation: When I read this poem I came to know more about the life of the married couple. They have almost similar experiences everywhere in the world. This poem also reminded me of Cublor Ross who has charted five psychological stages of grief.

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