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November 5, 2005

Living Through Our Children

Helga (to Eva. Do you understand what I mean about your being my jewels?

Eva. That's not in the story.

Helga. Do you understand?

Eva. Sort of.

Helga. We all die one day, but jewels never fade or perish. Through our children we live. That's how we cheat death. Otherwise we're really finished.

The bit that I italicized reminded me of The Jeweller's Shop. There is a line in which Anna says "do we live through each other? I suppose not. We live more through our children." I have to say that I agree with this idea. But, it makes it even sadder at the end of the play when we find out that Eva's mother lived and she just didn't want to go with her to America. If Eva doesn't want to live the way her mother does and wants her too, I think that is a blow that makes Helga feel like she is really going to die, she will not live on in her daughter. Yet, at the same time I can see why Evelyn is upset and why it is hard for her to change.

I also find it interesting how different of a feeling I get from reading this philosophy of "living through our children" when compared to that of The Glass Menagerie. A few people talked about how it seemed that Amanda was trying to live through her children instead of letting them chose their own lives, and to me (and I think to everyone else) it seemed like a bad thing. But, in this instance I don't see the idea as a bad thing. It means something so different in this play to me. I think this proves how much context matters.

Posted by LorinSchumacher at November 5, 2005 12:34 AM


I agree with you Lorin on the fact that Helga does feel that she is going to die through her daughter. I mean Evelyn changed her name, religion and birthday. I think Helga realized that she was truly going to die if she did not have her daughter with her; and now that Evelyn has changed everything about her it hurts her mother. But you have to understand why Evelyn changed everything about herself. She couldn't live with her past on her shoulders for the rest of her life, she had to move on. Evelyn had to enjoy her life instead of constantly remembering her horrible past.

Posted by: Denamarie at November 5, 2005 1:26 PM

I agree Dena, I can't even imagine what Evelyn went through and I can see how the circumstances may have made it impossible for her want to go with her mother. It really sucks because I think if I was Helga I would have been devasted but if I was Evelyn I wouldn't have had a hard time getting on with my mother if I had been away from her for so long. So it seems like there was no way they could have both been happy and gotten what they wanted and needed most.

Posted by: Lorin Schumacher at November 5, 2005 6:19 PM

I was going to use this quote but then I saw you had it Lorin so I chose another one lol.

Anyway I totally agree with the italicized part of your quote. I think that no matter how many times children say they hate their parents and they don't ever want to be anything like them, they will be a portion like their parents. Even in the play Evelyn says "Like mother like daughter." I agree that Helga probably did think that her spirit would die because of Evelyn. But I do not think that she will die totally. I think that she will always have a part of her mother with her and will pass it down to Faith (if she hasn't already). Maybe I'm wrong, I don't know... it's just what I feel. I can see how it was hard for Evelyn to go to America though. She lived without her mother for so long and then her mother comes back and says that she wants her to move to America with her. Now i've never been without a parent like that but I know what it's like to move and I personally hate it... so if I hate it all that much I can't imagine what she thought to move with someone she hasn't been with for so long. She adjusted to life in England.

Posted by: Danielle Meyer at November 6, 2005 4:38 PM

I can say I know from experience that leaving England is not fun! =0) So I can see why she wouldn't want to leave it. Especially since it is everything she is familiar with. I know how hard it is to reajust to a new culture. And think about how hard it was for her to leave Germany and adjust to England, doing it again would be very difficult.

Posted by: Lorin Schumacher at November 6, 2005 9:45 PM

Lorin the parent child connection in this play is what drives it for it's emotional effect. You're right, I think that Helga really was looking to live through her child. However, so was Lil. I think that the connection between Evelyn and Helga is much like the connection between Faith and Evelyn. Faith is also blaming many of her problems on her mother. The difference is that Evelyn seems to be trying to push Faith out, as she was pushed out. I don't know if Evelyn is trying make her daughter face the same life that she did or if she thinks that it's better for a young person to find out life on their own.

Posted by: Andy LoNigro at November 6, 2005 10:14 PM

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