What’s the ‘Reconstruction Work’ in “Reconstruction Work?”

Posted: June 24, 2012 in Reading Short Story Essays
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There are two different ways a reader can interpret the old man’s actions in the story.

One. The man was trying to save the face of Francis Fordham. Elizabeth Fordham Roth may have been scolded or maltreated a few times by his father when she was young, which made her hate her own father, but in reality, the father may have been doing that for here daughter’s own good. Maybe he was just too overprotective of his child and may have deprived her of the social world outside. The man may have noticed these things when he was young and may have understood Francis Fordham’s actions. The young Elizabeth, however, may have not and carried her grudge on her father until her death. Being mad at her father, she may have made up things like her father battering her or maltreating her, and told almost everyone, including her children and grandchildren these lies. The man, having sympathy for Francis Fordham, may be trying to reconstruct the damaged image of Elizabeth’s father.

Another way and more likely than the first is that the old man may be trying to make Francis Fordham look like a respected person who never would lay a finger on Elizabeth Fordham Roth. Like a mortuary professional making a corpse look good, the man may be covering Francis Fordham’s ugly attitude by telling the granddaughter that her grandmother, due to old age, may have been delusional when she was telling her about her father maltreating her. If people do become delusional when getting old, then wouldn’t it be that the old man is also that? He then would be just a little out of his mind and is making up the story.

Reconstruction work, therefore, means rebuilding the broken dignity or image of someone in the former; the same term means differently in the latter, a cover-up of the true personality by a layer of lies.

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Comments
  1. lit13studentsnook.wordpress.com says:

    read and marked.

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