August 17, 2005

"Heart in the Ground" Response

KAREN: No, I was awake. I saw it. I know about farming. I've been doing it since I was twelve. Except for those two years. But I know about putting seeds in the ground. You put a seed in good, rich dirt, you can grow anything. (Hill,“Heart in the Ground”)

Karen states that she knows about putting seeds in the ground, but does that also apply to humans, specifically her baby? Karen is so determined to have Catherine buried on her farm that she is willing to battle both her husband and brother. Karen seems to feel that having her baby close to her, on her own land, will ease the pain of her loss; however, her simplified version on how to “grow anything” in addition to her unstable mind, leads me to believe that Karen thinks that by burying Catherine on the farm will bring her back to life. I don’t want to go as far as saying that Karen believes Catherine will rise from the dead, but Karen’s obsession implies that there is something more behind her grief.

I don’t believe Karen is “crazy,” but the death of her daughter and loss of her other child has definitely given her mind and sanity a jolt. As discussed in “Mourning Parents: Considering Safeguards and Their Relation to Health,” the death of a child is unnatural and disrupts the circle of life. Although Karen apparently has spent some time in a mental health facility before, I never got the feeling she was “nuts.” Yes, her ideas about the moon and corn seem like the talk of an unstable woman, but losing a child would push anyone to the edge.

After searching for connections between corn and the moon, I found several sites that discuss the importance of planting corn on specific days when the moon has a particular name or is in a particular position (Native American beliefs and the Farmers Almanac. Karen’s grief may have actually opened her mind to accept legends of nature that may be based on truths. This mother obviously is having difficulty with her pain, but I stand by the idea that she is not mad; she believes that burying her child near her or turning to Mother Nature will answer her questions and ease her pain. It’s satisfying to know that although her husband may not believe in her ideas, he cares enough to give in to her desire and grant her wish.

Posted by KatherineLambert at August 17, 2005 08:12 PM
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