In the novel May Sarton has adequately addressed the plight of senior citizens in a retirement home setting.The persona, who is also a senior citizen in a retirement home, takes us through the worrisome series of events that unfold behind the walls …
Unlike what is portrayed to the outside world by the staff members of these homes, the situation on the ground as revealed by Sarton in her book As We Are Now is very different. This essay will seek to provide my in-depth personal analysis of the portrayal and aesthetics of aging in the novel As We Are Now by May Sarton. Many reviewers have categorized the story as a classic horror story filled with sad events but in my opinion, there is a point that Sarton tries to bring across through their vivid description. How are older adults described and portrayed? Please include at least physical, mental and personality characteristics? In the novel As We Are Now, senior citizens have been portrayed as a group of helpless individuals who are bound to suffer in the hands of their caretakers due to a myriad of factors such as contempt, neglect or plain sadism on the part of their caretakers. The old people are seen as mentally unstable and a burden to their families and friends due to their health problems that requires them to constantly seek assistance from the younger members of the family. A good example is the persona herself who is brought into the retirement home by her elder brother after she suffers a heart attack and the brother is unable to take care of her. She is viewed as a burden by her brothers much younger wife and this is the reason why she is sent to a retirement home. While older people may be unhygienic and unaware of their cleanliness status, it is evident that they are viewed as dirty people. Those who send them to retirement homes such as Caro’s brother do so to pass on the responsibilities to other people at a small fee. While this reason may be sensible to some extent, it is evident that many horrific incidents happen in these homes. What is the role and relationship between the older character and other characters in the book? Caro plays many roles as an older character in the novel As We Are Now. In the novel, it is revealed that Standish, a fellow aged and deaf senior citizen is her ally since they share the same dislike for Harriet. There is evidence of generational conflict where the two have the same hatred for Harriet who is relatively younger. Caro relates with other characters quite indifferently since very little is revealed about them apart from how they look or their challenges. She gets angry when Harriet vehemently refuses to call in a doctor after Standish health condition deteriorates and he is in great pain. This serves to reveal her personality that despite her aging, she is still loving and caring. There exists a very poor relationship between Caro and her brother. This is evidenced by the fact that he is quick to send her to a nursing home after she suffers from a heart attack. She experiences hateful and hurting treatment from both Harriet and Rose coupled with dehumanizing living conditions. The negativity and resentment that both have towards her make her suffer in silence because Harriet runs the nursing home. What were the occupations of the elders? Upon analysis of the novel, Caro is revealed as a former teacher who had no previous spouse from the fact that she was unmarried. Standish Flint on the other hand is presented as a farmer who is deaf and angry at the fact that he can no longer work in his farm. It is evident that most of the people in the nursing home were once in some kind of employment in their previous years but had to give up their employment in their sunset years. This means that they left the workforce to probably pave way for new and younger talent. Caro does not seem to have as many regrets and anger as that held by Standish. Nonetheless, the general mood I the nursing home ...
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