Learning to Cope

Davon Daniels Professor Moss English 1500 11/20/12 Draft 2 Learning to Cope Just about everyone has lost that one person that they really care about and they know that everything can change at the drop of a hat. Death is an unexpected occurrence that could sometimes have long lasting mental and physical effects on people. In the play Down the Aisle by Patricia Leigh Gaborik a young girl Katie and her family are learning to cope with the death of their loved one.
People handle the death of a loved one in different ways, and Katie tries to handle the death of her father by holding on to all the good memories she had of him. Not only is Katie deeply affected by their lost but the rest of her family is learning to cope with their lost by taking on different roles when he pasts. The father is a symbolic character in this play because he is the rock of their family, because he is strong and dependable. Each character in the play experiences different conflicts and changes in their relationship after losing the person they all loved the most.
One conflict experienced in the play is the relationship between Katie and her mother before and after the death of Katie’s father. Katie and her mother don’t have the best relationship and at times it seems that Katie wishes that she would’ve been in the car accident with her father. This is a conflict because it seems as if Katie may blame her mother for the death of her father for making him go out while she stayed at home and took care of Katie. This causes a lot of tension between Katie and her mother because she also feels as though the death of her father might also be her fault.

At the end of the play Katie and her mother appear to be closer to each other and her mother even apologizes for the things she’s done in the past and talks about Katie’s father. This is important because after years of not really speaking about him it shows that their mother is just starting to cope with his death. Her mother states in the play “I know you always thought I did everything wrong” (pg. 251). This shows that even though she knows they didn’t have the best relationship in the past that she’s trying to be there for her and only wants the best for her.
Katie and her brother Joe has a typical brother and sister relationship they argue a lot but at the same time they care for each other. At times Joe even calls his sister Katie a brat but still offers to do things for her. The death of their father changed their relationship because Joe seems to be the person that now holds the family together. This appears to be Joe’s way of coping with his father’s death because he feels as if he has to be strong for both Katie and his mother and take on the new role of the man of the house. Joe: “What d’ya think?!
Mom! The music’s started! You have to get to your seat! Aw, mom. I told you not to say that stuff. You said it, didn’t you? You’re crying! Come on! Happy. Happy! Are you happy? See, she’s happy. Everybody’s happy. It’s a happy day. Let’s go! Let’s go! This quote is a great example of how Joe keeps everything together as everyone starts to breakdown; he represents the new rock and strength of their family. Katie’s relationship with her father is the most important because out of everyone in their family she had the closest relationship with him.
A major conflict in the story is that Katie after these past years still can come to terms with her father’s death. On her wedding day as she’s preparing to walk down the aisle she in visions herself having a conversation with her father and reminiscing about all the good memories they shared. Katie says “I don’t understand you’re supposed to be the one I can count on” (pg. 247). This quote shows that even though Katie may not entirely get over the death of her father but she is slowly getting to the point where she is learning to deal with it.
At the end of the play the conversation between Katie and her mother helps her come to terms with the death of her father because that was first time that they have actually had a conversation about him. Someone who hasn’t lost someone they really care about may not know how it feels emotionally to overcome the death of someone they love but death is hard to get over and not everyone gets over it quickly. The overall theme of these conflicts is that everyone learns to cope with the death of someone in their own way and at their own time. For Katie the wedding shows her starting a new beginning not only for her but for her family as well.

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