Question

There is a lot of polarity among first time American parents in this 21st century. There are many girls having babies before the age of 20. While a generation ago, they would have be sent to an alternative school due to their condition, these days the high school halls are peppered with them-and they stay in the general population until they deliver. This is not an inner city low-income phenomenon; this is happening in very affluent suburban areas as well.

In contrast, there are also a lot of women who wait until their late thirties/early forties to marry and then quickly have their first child to outrun the tick tock of their biological clocks. Some have to take drastic steps to be able to conceive due to their age. Suddenly, there they are-married and a mother after nearly four decades without the responsibility.

Who is really ready to be a parent? How many people do you know who are poor at the job? Should have thought about it? Yet, parenthood is sought, coveted and lauded. It is again, one of those "beautiful" elements of the human condition.

Alice Munro has been called the Chekhov of the modern age, and perhaps, the greatest short story writer of our time. Here she examines the vocation of parenthood and she reveals her knowledge of it from a three-tiered point of view-a child, a young mother and an older woman looking back at her life.

Read this story thoughtfully (The New Yorker, Jan 14, 1985 Miles City Montana) and take a stand: is there a case for the beauty of parenthood in this story or does she expose it as something completely different?

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In the short story, New Yorker, Alice Munro takes a unique approach to parenthood by dividing life into two sections. In the first section, she is a child recalling the memory of Steve Gauley, a good friend of hers who drowned. That moment was the first time that Alice realized how difficult her parents’ job was in raising her. At the young age of six, she knew that parents had a very powerful responsibility to protect and guide their children through all the dangers they could encounter....

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