Absence and Loneliness Jenna Lahey

In what way does the absence of Halle, Buglar, and Howard impact Denver, and how does this cause her to withdraw from others in her life?

"Then Paul D came in here. I heard his voice downstairs, and Ma'am laughing, so I thought it was him, my daddy" (Morrison 245).
"...and the sons, Howard and Buglar, had run away by the time they were thirteen years old - as soon as merely looking in a mirror shattered it (that was the signal for Buglar); as soon as two tiny hand prints appeared in the cake (that was it for Howard). Neither boy waited to see more..." (Morrison 3).

"Freud presumed that our early childhood relations - especially with parents and caregivers - influence our developing identity, personality, and frailties"

(Myers AP Psychology).

Identity: Daughter

Personality: Shy; Mistrusting

Frailties: Wishing for a father who will never come...

Denver's lack of a father figure leaves her feeling alone and helpless with a mother who poses a constant threat. This prevents her from obtaining a normal childhood and developing relationships with others in the town; rather, Denver is confined to her four-walled shack that she is forced to consider home.

"When she stood at the open window, unmindful of flies, her head cocked to her left shoulder, her eyes searching to the right for them. Cloud shadow on the road, an old woman, a wandering goat untethered and gnawing bramble - each one looked at first like Howard - no, Buglar. Little by little she stopped and their thirteen-year-old faces faded completely..." (Morrison 47).

"I didn't care either because the quiet let me dream my daddy better. I always knew he was coming. Something was holding him up. He had a problem with the horse. The river flooded; the boat sank and he had to make a new one. Sometimes it was a lynch mob or a windstorm. He was coming and it was a secret. I spent all of my outside self loving Ma'am so she wouldn't kill me, loving her even when she braided my head at night. I never let her know my daddy was coming for me. Grandma Baby thought he was coming, too. For a while she thought so, then she stopped. I never did. Even when Howard and Buglar ran away" (Morrison 244-245).

"Denver sat down on the bottom step. There was nowhere else gracefully to go. They were a twosome, saying 'You daddy' and 'Sweet Home' in a way that made it clear both belonged to them and not to her. That her own father's absence was not hers" (Morrison 15).

Through the loss of Halle, Buglar, and Howard, Denver begins to struggle with her own sense of happiness. The absence of male figures in her life, combined with the confinement of 124, leaves her struggling to create her own personality and realistic path to follow. She develops a longing for her father and brothers to return, but as the years go by, she realizes that it just is not reality. This leaves Denver feeling alone in a world in which she does not belong, which ultimately results in her obvious frustration with Sethe and Paul D, as well as with herself.

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