The Geranium

Published: 2021-07-01 06:23:06
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Category: Abuse, Child Abuse, Domestic Violence

Type of paper: Essay

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Date: 15/02/10 Title: The Geranium Text type: Short story Author: Patricia Grace This short story, 'The Geranium', by Patricia Grace and published 1993, is a perfect example of Battered woman syndrome and the mental effects it has on a person in this case Marney. In the geranium, the main character, Marney is a stay at home mother. She cleans intensely all day and seems rather dull. She does not leave the house even when one of the girls tells her to "come for a stretch. " You know she is hesitant and you can feel that there is something stopping her from leaving.
There seems to be a routine of non-stop cleaning, because when her friends, Sandra and Joe, come over this doesn't stop her from making sure things are clean, she even sets down paper to stop the floor getting dirty again. Her life is so boring that the highlight of her week is the arrival of the "paper that came on a Wednesday. " The paper is a widow to the outside world that she is no longer able to access. Although the paper shows her all kinds of things she could do and clubs she could enter, she can’t because of a mental block built up by the continuous abuse from Bob.
The conflict becomes more clear with the return of Bob her husband. When Bob comes home he immediately starts demands what she has been doing all day. He asks questions about whether she’s been digging and cleaning and who’s been over. He is so controlling that he has to know ever little detail to make sure he does not “find out different. ” When he finds out about “The Geranium” he tells her to “chuck that thing out. ” This is a clear demonstration of his control, because Marney throws it away without question even though earlier we see that she really wanted it.

These demonstrations of Bob’s dominance show us the reason for Marney’s resistance to leave for the shops earlier and why she finds the housework so important. The conflict is resolved when Marney throws out the Geranium at Bob’s command. This part of the story is significant because it is Marney’s chance to stand up for something she wants. We see earlier in the story that the Geranium is something that she has wanted; it is something to bring some colour into her dull, boring, grey life. A bit of change to brighten her days.
But she is damaged from her abuse, and shows she has no freewill. Immediately faltering under Bob’s orders she “put it into [a] scrap bucket” as if it was of little matter to her. The “sink emptying” is her life being drained away. She watches as her life is taken away from here, because she was unable to speak up. She has let her chance slip away and has been doomed to the same dull days. I think the ideas that Patricia Grace is trying to get across is that; domestic violence isn’t all physical, that it can happen very much behind the scenes and the ways in which it can affect people.
Although we get hints that Marney is physically abused such as; when Grace mentions that Marney “would put on her cardigan to hide her arm,” and when Bob grips her arm until it hurts, we never actually get any evidence of serious physical abuse. When the Sandra and Joe come over they dress Bob up as an amazing guy compared to their drunkard partners. Bob always has the groceries, and doesn’t come home drunk all the time. But behind the scenes he is very different from the picture the girls have made. He is threatening towards Marney and extremely controlling.
He has scared into such an intense routine that she is no longer able to change that routine and is stuck to doing whatever he wants her to. This shows us that domestic violence can occur without the knowledge of the people that surrounding. Grace has showed us the way abuse can affect someone through the way Marney is. She has been so controlled by Bob that she can no longer even think for herself. She has ‘Battered Woman Syndrome’ and is completely under his control that she can not even reach out for help. These effects of her abuse show us how badly the aftermath of abuse affect someone just as bad as the abuse itself.
The thing that I didn’t enjoy about this story is the style of writing. It is written in a boring way to emphasis the way Marney’s life is, and although it serves the purpose it left me feeling uninterested. What I did like the storyline. The way in which the conflict developed. I liked the way it starts off with what seems like Marney going about a normal day and then it turns into a day that that brings forth all her abuse and problems. Mainly starting with the arrival of her friends. These developments give us a great insight into a day in the life of Marney. And it is not a pretty picture.

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