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The Family lesson

"In the Family" - Maria Elena Llano
 
Summary
    "In the Family," by Maria Elena Llano, is about a family who discovers that their mirror in their living room was inhabited. At first, no one believed that the mirror reflected the family members who passed away until they saw it and decided to keep it a secret. If one of the family members sat down in an empty chair facing the mirror, another departed family member was sitting in the same chair through the reflection of the mirror. Clara, the family's cousin, came back from her yearly vacation and quickly adapted herself to the news of the inhabited mirror. Clara was a very prideful girl. What ever she says goes. One day, Clara suggests to move the mirror from the dining room to the living room so the family could all eat together. "For a while we ate all together, without further incidents or problems. We musn't forget Clara, however, who we had allowed to sit at the frontier between the two tables, the equator separating what was from what was not" (Llano p. 859). The family enjoyed eating with their departed. They all admired the changes and appearances of the family. With paying little, but not enough, attention to the situation, Clara asked the departed Eulalia to pass the salad from the reflection to the table. Eulalia was lethargic and payed no attention to weather Clara was asking or Gus, another departed member. " There was no time to act. We just watched her grow pale, then her smile faded away until finally Clara collapsed against the mirror" (Llano 860). Clara's face became dull and gray as she finished the salad from the mirror, resulting in falling against the mirror. A while later, the family noticed that Clara was in the reflection of the mirror, but this time she was on the other side looking back at the family. "In fact, a short time later, we realized that there wasn't a great deal of difference between what Clara did before and what she was doing now, and so we decided to overlook the incident and get on with things" (Llano 860). Although the unfortunate inccident did not affect the family's life, they then started to think if the life that they were living, was just a reflection of a mirror on the departed side of the table.
 
  • This story was told from a first-person perspective from probably the family's child's point of view. 
  • The characterization in this story was indirect. The narrarator only knew the thoughts of themselves, not of others.
  • The conflict in this story was probably person vs. self because Clara didn't think before she asked for the salad and no one noticed to stop her.
  • The crisis in this story was probably that the mirror was inhabited in the first place. 
  • The conflict is that Clara ate the relection's salad. 
  • The resolution is that Clara ended up being in the reflection of the departed looking back at her family.  
 
Setting
The dining room and the living room.
 
Chatracter development
I think that the characters may have changed a little after the inccident. Although the story says that Clara didn't, I think that the family changed to be more aware and percautious. I also think that the family started to live life to the fullest and as if someone, though the reflection of the mirror, was watching them everyday.  
 
Themes
Pride-Clara was prideful and commanding. She always had to get her way and never thought twice about something because she knew she was always right.
 
Awareness-The family was not aware that Clara was making a regretful move of eating the reflection's salad and was not aware of the consequences that would follow.
 
 
Questions:
  • What are some themes of this story? Why?
  • What is the point of view in this story? And from whose perspective is the story told from?
  • Would you say that the characters changed over the course of the story?
  • What is the conflict in this story? What is the crisis that set the conflict up? Person versus what?
  • Indirect or direct characterization?
  • Was the setting important in this story?
  • What was the resolution in this story?

 

 
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