Louise Gluck’s, “Terminal Resemblance
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Literature in SocietySeptember 23, 2008True FeelingsLouise Glucks, Terminal Resemblance is about the relationship of a father and daughter. The daughter believes that their relationship is not the best it could be and they are not as close as she would like it to be. The poem is written in narrative form, by the daughter in the story. The poem illustrates that although one might not express his or her emotions, the individual still loves and cares for the person who is most important to him or her.
Throughout the poem, the girl seems to have a particular style about the way she describes her father and what he means to her. This style sets the poems pace throughout the story. She seems to be the type of girl who is rebellious or does not open up to her father. Consequently, the relationship between the two grew extremely distant. Later in the poem, the father tries to connect and talk with the daughter, and she acts as though she was surprised they were even attempting to talk. The father wants to talk about when a man is dying—a subject that she never thought they would talk about (Gluck 319). She feels that this is at least a start for them, but she still is not sure why he wanted to talk about death. During the situation with her father, she continues to drift off and give details about the images she sees happening around her. She makes it seem that she is comparing what they are doing to what is going on around them.
Half of the poem is about the relationship between the father and daughter, while the other is about her surroundings and the scenery. She would talk with her father, and then would go into detail about the neighbors or workers that were outside; this gibes you a good visual of what she was seeing along with what her situation was with her father. The father starts telling the daughter what he feels as he is dying. The girl responds sarcastically, I said I was glad for him, that he was lucky (Gluck 319). In response, her father felt weakness and suffering, while he expected a different emotion. The response from his daughter seemed rude and wrong in relation to what he was trying to say to her. By the end of the poem, she describes how the other families are saying their good-byes. She then compares how she had said good-bye in relation to the others. It was not until her father waved goodbye to her as she got into her taxi, that all the emotions started pouring into her.
As she waved back, she realized her hands were trembling: Like him, [I] waved to disguise my hands trembling (Gluck 319). Her hand may have been trembling because she finally realized that she would never see her father again, and she felt guilty for the way she had acted towards him. What ever had happened between them was not enough to hide their feelings. Instead, it brought out both of their love and true emotions for one another. this proves that love is unbreakable even when things are not going in the right direction, they can be brought out by the people and things that mean the most to us.
Gluck, Louise. Terminal Resemblance. Making Literature Matter. Scipione. 3rd EditionBoston, MA: Bedford/St. Martins, 2006. pg 318-319.