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The presence of Lillian’s husband in “The Guilt”

Uploaded by rizwan on Apr 07, 2006

Rayda Jacobs “The Guilt” is a story of confrontation between an old woman and a young black guy in her house. The name of the old woman is Lillian Thurgwood who is a widow and through out the story she gives us the picture of struggle of an old and lonely woman against the world around her through different incidents of her life. Rayda Jacobs, in the story, has sketched the influence of her late husband on her life in such a way that it reveals the strength of her nature and overcoming the challenges of her lonely life to the readers quite evidently.

Lillian Thurgwood lives in a house, which has “the wall round the property ten feet high”, and the gates are locked. This tells us about the insecurity of a lonely woman who lives all by her own. But two Alsatians, Tembi, and Tor, who guard her as - “sentinels at the gate.” These two “fierce and powerful dogs” are trained by her “late husband” to “follow specific commands” and she feels that these two dogs give her the security and protection she needs to keep her safe from the world outside. In a married relationship it is the husband’s responsibility to keep his wife safe and protected. Similarly, Lillian senses that though her husband is not alive - who would have protected her from dangers if alive, these two dogs trained by her husband gives her that protection and sense of being secured as if they were left by her husband to protect her when he will not be there physically. We see the demonstration of this when William Sidlayi, the young black man in the story, moves forward towards Lillian for money and she commands the dogs “Sa!” and with her command “the bitches leapt- Tembi at Williams wrist and, Tor at his collar- and knocked him to the floor.”

Again we see the virtual presence of her husband in the story when William asks for ten rands and Lillian refuses him by first saying “ I’ll ask my husband for the money.” Thus we see her trying to protect herself William who was a stranger and attempting to hide the helplessness of a widow who is old and not well protected from the strange world outside by using her husband’s name as a defense. Furthermore, Lillian’s late husband Jock comes to the picture when she...

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Uploaded by:   rizwan

Date:   04/07/2006

Category:   Literature

Length:   3 pages (755 words)

Views:   4006

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