How Do We Cope with Loss and Grief? Discuss, with Close Reference to the Texts, ‘Love, Ghosts and Nose Hair’ and ‘Looking for Alibrandi’. Essay
Experiencing loss and grief is an unavoidable part of human life - How Do We Cope with Loss and Grief? Discuss, with Close Reference to the Texts, ‘Love, Ghosts and Nose Hair’ and ‘Looking for Alibrandi’. Essay introduction. After analysing the texts ‘Looking for Alibrandi’ and ‘Love, Ghosts and Nose Hair’, it is evident that people cope with loss and grief in many different ways. The protagonists from both of the texts experienced some form of loss or grief. Both Josie and Jack lost someone who meant a great deal to them; at different ages and in different circumstances. This meant the way in which they grieved and how long they coped for, was different. In the poetry text, Jack’s mother died from breast cancer when he was nine.
In the novel, Josie’s best friend John Barton committed suicide when she was seventeen. Although she died when he was young, Jack still communicates with his mother via a spiritual connection. He creates a ‘ghost’ of her, which he talks to and confides in. By creating this fictitious mental image, Jack is actually denying the fact that his mother is gone. Josie denies John’s death when Ivy tells her what happened: “This is a joke, isn’t it, Ivy, I said angrily, shaking her. A real sick one. John’s not suicidal. Some dickhead is having you on. ”
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As well as being in denial, the protagonists also experience anger whilst dealing with the loss of a loved one. Josie profusely expresses her anger by shouting at her parents: “How dare he kill himself when he’s never had any worries! ” She cannot understand why John could possibly want to kill himself. She believes that he has no worries; he has nothing to be suicidal about. Jack is also angry. However, his anger is directed differently. He is angry at the doctors, for saying that everything will be fine and that his mother is going to survive. In one of his poems he writes: “… nd never, but never, believe doctors who say ‘everything will be all right. ’” The authors of both the poetry text and the novel use a range of writing techniques to engage readers. In the poetry text, the author cleverly conveys the characters’ feelings to readers by writing a series of poems which reveal their innermost thoughts. In both of the texts, the authors help us to understand how the characters are feeling by writing in first person. By creating lifelike and relatable characters and storylines within the texts, we can really get an understanding of how the protagonists cope with the loss of their loved ones.
Eventually, both of the protagonists accept and come to terms with their loss. Jack’s relationship with Annabel helps him to accept the fact that his mother is gone; forever. Through finding new love he is able to let go of his mother. Two weeks before his seventeenth birthday, he writes a poem, in which he says: “At midnight, I’m going to tell the ghost no more visits it’s not that I don’t need her or want her to stay I’m just too old to believe in it any more seven years of talking to myself seven years of listening and hearing a fading echo of a Mother I loved, and still do. ”
Jack has decided that it is time to move on with his life. He sees his mother in himself, in his sister, and in the way they both act. He does not need her in this nonsensical form. He will always have her, even if she is not physically there. Josie accepts John’s death on the day of his funeral. At her Speech Night, Josie is talking to Ivy and she realises that what John said before he died, about them being similar, was true. She realises that even though she wants him to be alive; nothing will ever bring him back. She says to Ivy: “I really wanted him to be with me while I did law. I don’t think I can make t without him now. ” Josie refused to believe that John was gone; but once she had passed that point, and realised that he was gone, she accepted it, and moved on. Jack had tried to hold onto his mother for so many years because he did not want to forget her; when in actual fact, the best way to hold onto her forever, was to let her go. Josie and Jack grieved and dealt with their loss in similar ways. They both experienced some of the stages of grief: denial, anger and acceptance. However, they ultimately came to terms with their loss and made peace with the fact that the people they loved but had lost, were never coming back.