Standing Ground by Ursula Le Guin Essay
Gun bases most of her stories and novels on her beliefs and disbelief. She is an atheist and relies more on philosophy than religion. Perhaps that Is why “Standing Ground,” a story that deals with abortion, was written with no objectivity. Lee Gull had no religious beliefs Interfering with her Intended theme. Many of her stories are based on Taoism, where there Is good In every evil and evil In every good. In her writings, Lee Gull addresses enduring human problems. She also likes to write about children and their search for identity.
Lee Gun lives that to become an adult, an individual must “find ways of realizing the great potential in the unknown (Heeler 1451). ” “Standing Ground” is about a girl who has been thrust into the unknown world of adulthood. She encounters many obstacles but tries to find the good in them. Therefore, by Lee Gun’s standards, this girl is not a girl at all; she is a woman. Thus the story suggest that maturity does not always come with age; sometimes a child is forced to be an adult and serve as the only source of loving care and support.
The plot of this story Is about one girl’s struggle to overcome the categorization of Ewing young, while at the same time helping her brain damaged mother get an abortion. The story opens mid-afternoon, as the two mall characters, Delaware and Share,approach an abortion clinic. Standing outside the clinic are Mary and Norman, two profile demonstrators who assume that Delaware, because of her age, is having the abortion. In the midst of their chanting and sign waving Norman grazes Delaware should with his sign; this is an invasion of privacy that Delaware battles throughout the story.
Once inside the clinic, the receptionist, as well as two nurses, also assumes that Delaware is the one who is pregnant and talk to her as if she were a child. Sere begins to day dream in the waiting room. At this point, the reader find out that Delaware is Share’s daughter, that Share is brain damaged, and that Share is pregnant due to date rape. After battling many age related assumptions and obstacles, Delaware helps her mother through the abortion only to have her mother refer to her as a “baby. ” Outside, Mary and Norman share their views on abortion.
They later have a child like argument which proves them to be Immature. As an adolescent, Delaware has been forced to mature at an early age. She has faced many common problems of growing up. On a daily basis Delaware has to fight to be taken seriously as an adult. This is shown throughout the story as the employees in the clinic talk to her in a child like tone. Through all of this, Delaware must also try and make plans to attend college. During a conversation in the waiting room, the nurse asks Delaware if she plans on attending college.
After a thoughtful pause, Delaware admits to the nurse that she would like to. However, in the back of re mind Delaware knows that she will probably never go to college because she must stay take care of her mother. It is the constant care of her mother that causes Delaware to face a slew of adult problems as well. It was Delaware who made all of the necessary appointments for Share to get her abortion. During the ordeal of the abortion, she had to deal with Insurance and finance, as well as translating the doctor’s technical talk about the procedure into terms that Share could understand.
Delaware Is not nappy Walt near Tie, out NAS Tuna somewhat AT a Dalliance AT ten g and bad that she faces and accepts it. Clue notes that Just as in Lee Gun’s other writings, this is the sign of true maturity (572). Other than recognizing the balance between what she wants and what she has, Delaware also exhibits many other common characteristics of a grown adult. While dealing with Share, Delaware has what seems to be infinite patience. For example, the clinic workers repeatedly mistake Delaware for the patient. Every time Delaware calmly states otherwise.
Any other adolescent would have raised their voice, but Delaware remained patient throughout. She also exhibits an amazing sense of understanding when De inning with Share. Delaware feels “strange and sad” about her mother and her lack of seriousness for the situation (71). It is extremely hard for Delaware to remain ready to handle the situation when Share, do to her brain damage, is always in somewhat of a playful mood. Heeler has noticed that Lee Gun often uses the protagonist’s conscience to help guide them through hard times (1451). Perhaps it is Delaware conscience which guides her and gives her this uncanny sense of understanding.
Lastly, Delaware is mature enough to recognize her limits. When the doctor asks Delaware to allow him perform the tuba legation, he realizes that this decision is much to important to make on her own. Heeler has also written of Lee Gun’s belief that both the pop dive and negative choices must be maintained to suspend an identity (1451). At her young age, Delaware is somehow aware of this and is able to make what the doctor views as a negative decision with no remorse. All of these traits help reinforce the controlling idea that Delaware is remarkably mature regardless of her age.
Delaware faces two main antagonist while helping her mother. One of which is the pair of closed minded profile demonstrators. Mary and Norman are extremely radar antagonist to overcome because they feel that they are inalienably right. Mary even goes as far as saying “this is a war and we are the army of right (67). ” Their presence alone causes Delaware a great deal of stress. With their wild chanting and sign swinging, Mary and Norman make a difficult situation even harder for Delaware. The contact that Normal’s sign makes with her shoulder haunts Delaware the entire story.
It did not do any great physical damage to her, but caused her serious mental anguish. Delaware puts up a strong facade to help her believe that she is not weak. On the inside, she is scared of all that is happening. In Delaware world, her conscience and privacy are all that she has left to hold onto. When Normal’s sign grazed her shoulder, he invaded her privacy and therefore caused Delaware to feel as if he had left scratch on her soul. According to Boiler, Lee Gun believes that “sometimes when we seek to improve the world, we do more harm than good (1064). Norman and Mary are a perfect example of this. Blinded by their ambitions to improve the world, they do not stop to think about the possibility that they are arming an innocent girl. Another antagonist that Delaware has to overcome is her young age. Although her age is never stated, it is said that Delaware is still in high school. Most students of the high school age are irresponsible and reckless. They feel that they are super man and that nothing can hurt them. This is the preconceived notion that the demonstrators and the clinic workers have about Delaware.
Every adult that Delaware Interacts Witt In ten story assumes Tanat seen was Irresponsible, mace a reckless decision w h a boy, and is now pregnant. These assumptions not only anger Delaware, but hurt her as well. Little do these “adults” realize that she is here to support her mother, nor do they bother to find out before assuming. Delaware true strength and mature y shines through every time she calmly lets others know that it is Share who is pregnant. After finding out that they were mistaken, not a single “adult” is mature enough to apologize. Furthermore, they continue to talk to Delaware as if she is a chi .
Heeler notes on Lee Gun that “in order to become an adult, one must find ways of realizing the potential of the unknown (1451). ” Neither he demonstrators nor the clinic workers took into consideration the unknown possibly that Delaware was there for reasons other than a bad decision. Delaware faces the unknown on a daily basis while caring for Share; thus by Lee Gun’s standards, she is the only true adult in the story, and therefore stronger that any antagonist that she faces. There are two key scenes which help the reader to fully understand two of the main characters and how they each affect Delaware.
The first is the scene in which Norman vividly describes what he believes takes place during an abortion. He thinks hat e girls are strapped down and gassed. He pictures that the doctors spread her legs and pry and pull until the fetus, or “he,” finally comes out. Norman also believes that the doctors poke at “him” with sharp tools. They cause the woman to “bleed and non and grit her teeth. ” They use their knives to pull him out, “lifeless, limp, and dead. ” (69) This description gives the reader an idea how truly close minded Norman is. He has dedicated his life to the fight against abortion and yet he knows onto g about it.
Norman has created a primal and annalistic myth about abortion which alps him to hate those who are involved. Norman is a perfect example of Lee Gun’s belief that an insecure being will manifest primal myths to compensate for reality (Sc tiger 355). He is a close minded old man who believes in nothing except for the fact that he is inherently right in his fight for life. According to Lee Gun, one becomes an adult when they stop projecting evil images upon others (Heeler 1451). This s en shows that Norman, a man in his fifties, projects evil on anyone who has to do with abortion. By Lee Gun’s standards, Norman is nothing more than a child.
This ascription of the “butcher shop” shows that Norman, even though extremely immature, is difficult character for Delaware to overcome. The second key scene is Share’s day dream. In the day dream, the reader gains an insight into Share’s mind; furthermore, they gain an insight to what Delaware must put up with on a daily basis. From the start of this scene, it is immediately vivo that Share has the mind set of a child. First, she explains her feelings about Delaware. She talks of how sometimes Delaware acts like the “momma” and thinks she knows everything. She also says despite that, Share loves her deeply.
Through such d corruption in the scene the reader becomes aware of the unbreakable bond that Share and Delaware have. This bond Justifies any questions of why Delaware has given up a normal life to care for her mother; for the first time, Delaware reasoning for her sections is made clear. During the scene, Share also states that she is brain damaged. She describes her special class and how her teacher talks to her. Even though Share is unaware, the teacher’s tone is amiable and child like. The reader now NAS n Idea AT now snare must De treated Ana want Delaware NAS to endure while caring for her mother.
Both of these scenes help to further understand Share and Norman, two of the main characters that Delaware interacts with. There are two separate climaxes in this story. The first, is the final argument between Mary and Norman. Throughout the story, they have both kept their thoughts about each other to themselves. Each has their own reasons for protesting, however they o not feel that the other has the merit to be there. In this final argument, they take turns screaming at one another. Mary tries to scare Norman away by threatening to tell the director of the organization on him.
Norman spends by standing in the y of Mar’s path. In the beginning of the story, they both were portrayed as adults. In the final argument, they are reduced to smelling little children arguing over a piece of candy. At the climax, Norman and Mary find themselves exactly where they Egan; they have found no resolution, and are fighting once again with their eyes shut for a cause that they know little about. The second climax is when Delaware comes to see her mother after the abortion. Although she “looked like a child tucked into bed,” Share looks at Delaware and says the last line of the story: “Hi baby” (79).
After all that Delaware has struggled thru GHz to help Share, she is still referred to as a child. This is a dramatic ending considering that now Delaware has been referred to as a child by every adult she has interacted with including Share. Delaware now realizes that despite all that she as files to care for Share, the world will forever view her as a child until she is older. The experience at the clinic has not affected Share a great deal, but it will take Delaware time to mentally conquer all that she faced during that day. There I no resolution for Delaware. She knows that the next day will be the same.
She will still have to be a “mother” to her mother. Heeler notes that Lee Gun’s protagonist often must face many perennial human problems until they find happiness (1450). As e story ends, Delaware is fully aware that she will have to face many more such enduring problems before society will consider her an adult. Lee Gun incorporates a variety of literary devices into this story. She foreshadows the mistake that will commonly be made when early in the story, Mary insinuates that Delaware is the one having the baby. Mary does so in such a dramatic mannerism the it is obvious the mistake will be made again.
Lee Gun also utilizes sensory imagery when Share is comparing the two pregnancies. She describes Delaware as “something soft inside of me that I knew was mine(72). ” The reader can almost feel what it is eke to be pregnant. There is also some light comedic relief in this otherwise serious story. A somewhat comical scene occurs when Share reminds Delaware “don’t curse;” for a split second, the roles are reversed and Share is once again the mother. Other comical scene is when Share, while sitting in the waiting room, begins a discussion with herself about what kind of ice-cream she likes the best.
It is through these devices that Lee Gun makes the story more tangible for the reader. Delaware never chose to be put into her situation with Share. She did not volunteer. She faces the unknown everyday while taking care of her mother. Not by choice, but by a mandate from life. Delaware has been given circumstances to live with. SSH has done so and made the best of it. This is the sign off true adult. As Delaware has shown throughout the story, maturity does not always come with age; sometimes a canon Is Trace to De an adult Ana serve as and support. ten only source AT loving care