The Swing, Glavell
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“The Swing” is a story of contrasting focus in life that all people face, sometimes unknowingly. The focus of life differs from person to person as in this story. The father has spent his life focusing on his career and seems to have forgotten that he indeed does have a family supporting him. The mother has spent her life focusing on raising her son and has somehow forgotten herself. The son has grown older and gotten a family of his own and has become growingly concerned with his mothers health. The characters underlying issues are what make the story more closely relevant to everyday life.
Julius has spent his life focused on his career. Now, all of these years later he has aged and become increasingly withdrawn. The story says, “Julius was drawing in upon himself, becoming everyday more small and chill and dim” (Glavell 164). This statement alludes to the possibility that Julius has become depressed and withdrawn in his old age. Given this and statements made by his wife such as when she said Juliuss putting up the swing for James had been “one of the few flashes of poetry in all his worrisome, hardworking life.” She also said, “Julius had always felt she was a little foolish and needed a good deal of admonishing, and now he would think she was quite out of her mind and talk very sharply to her”, gives the impression that Julius had not been too involved in raising James and was verbally abusive to his wife.
Although the story never mentions the mother by name, it is an important look into one womans life that most people could understand, even empathize with. The story tells of her total dedication to her husband and son, and how she ignored her own dreams to ensure her familys success. She has become increasingly depressed. She has spent the entirety of her life focused so intently on promoting Juliuss and Jamess dreams and aspirations that she had lost herself. She had kept the books for Julius until his small engineering firm got on its feet. Once James was born, her focus shifted to ensuring that James was well educated and equipped to one day be successful. She did this by “playing little mathematical games with him before he had ever gone to school and had sat crossed-legged with him on the floor tossing coins to test the law of probability” (Glavell 164). “They had also done crossword puzzles together, and studied the stars together, and read books together that were over his head and sometimes over hers too” (Glavell 164). This shows that the woman has spent the majority of her time raising and educating her child. It also demonstrates to the reader that she has lost focus on