We all take the lives of others and ours for granted. We never think about how our lives would be different without someone. This is only because we only think of happy endings. We always think it will be alright after a period of time, but it’s not. Imagine waking up in morning and getting ready for school. You walk down the stairs wondering what mom made for breakfast, but just as you enter the kitchen you get hit in the face by the aroma of freshly backed pancakes, with the strong smell of bacon.
The aroma knocks you off your feet and you slowly levitate to the dining table and start digging in the pancakes. Now rewind that imagine entering the kitchen. Its pitch black, so you turn on the lights and your mom is nowhere to be found. You than look at the time and you think that it is too late to make yourself some breakfast so you head out without eating anything. Through the dynamic main character of Ella in Julie Orringer’s “Pilgrims,” helps us to see how people can become lost as result of experiencing loss and trauma.
In this short story our protagonist Ella has to overcome someone’s death and the illness of someone that is very dear to her. All these actions can change someone forever. Just like that our main character Ella will forever wonder the world a pilgrim. Illness of someone dear can cause a lot of change to a person’s life. It can scare a person as well as make them uneasy. In the story Ella’s mom is fighting cancer. “…her mother with an IV needle in her arm, the steady drip from the bag of orange liquid, her father speaking softly to himself as he paced the room, her mother shaking so hard she had to be tied down. (3) Ella’s whole family was affected by their mother’s illness. They were afraid to see where life would take them next. At night Ella and her brother tapped a secret code against the wall that separated their rooms: one knock, I’m afraid: two knocks, don’t worry: three knock, are you still awake? Four, come quick. And then there was the emergency signal a stream of knocks that kept on coming, which meant her brother, could hear their mother and father crying in their bedroom.
If it went on for more than a minute, Ella would give four knocks and her brother would run to her bedroom and crawl under the covers. (4) The whole family is changed. The parents cry to sleep and the kids have to make secret codes to comfort each other. The whole family is lost due to the trauma of the mother dealing with cancer. The family is wondering around visiting new places in hope of finding a treatment that would help their mother fight cancer. Claries’ mother had passed away.
She was lost because she kept calling a cup that contains red liquid, her mother. “…stood a glass filled with red water. ” (14) Both Clarie and Ella were dealing with problems in life that could change them forever. Clarie is extremely protective of the glass with the red liquid. “Don’t touch that, Clarie said” (14) Her older brother does not see the glass the same way, which means the glass was a way the Kaplan’s could keep Clarie from becoming lost from all the trauma she must have received from the death of their mother. Clarie died for the cup.