We can work on Writing a Story in Susan Minot’s Novel, “Monkeys”

Techniques Incorporated in Writing the Story in Comparison to the ones used in the Novel

            In my writing of a story on an incident that already exists in the novel from Gus Snr’s perspective and in the writing of the novel by Minot, the two cases adopts the some similar techniques. In the novel, Monkeys, Susan Minot adopts the approach of using a narrative strategy to tell her story on the Vincent’s family and incorporates imagery, minimalism, and symbolism techniques in the story. Augustus Paine Vincent (Gus Snr.) is the head of the family and the husband to Rose Marie (Rosie), with whom they had seven children (Minnie, Chicky, Sherman, Gus Jnr., Delilah, Sophie, and Caitlin), but despite being the main character, he has the least role in the novel even though every event revolves around his actions and behaviors, and this is a reflection of how Minot has used minimalism in her story to explain the problems affecting Vincent’s family. The main theme of the novel is the testament to the power that parents often exercise within families specifically linked with issues of wealth, unique relationship among siblings, and depression, which symbolizes how children’s lives are affected with the parents’ behaviors. To elaborate on this theme, Minot uses a narrative strategy to tell of the issues revolving around alcoholism and infidelity tearing apart the Vincent’s family, and this brings out the imagery technique as every event described creates a mental picture in the reader. Minot’s use of narrative technique is the key to the minimalist approach incorporating imagery and symbolism that renders a greater scope of family saga to be drawn into a much finer scale.

The use of narration, minimalism, imagery, and symbolism brings out the behaviors and interaction amongst the Vincent’s family members and it dominates the readers’ mind from the point of view limited to the third-person. The novel’s episodes are predominantly narrated by the third-person who is not involved in the Vincent’s family events and chooses to relatively remain distant from the individual consciousness of the characters in the novel. The use of third-person narrative technique in portraying the novel’s theme has led to the character not getting their voices to tell their own stories. A typical example relates to Gus Snr., though he is the main character, he never gets a voice in the novel because the third party narrator assumes a complete control in telling the book’s story. However, unlike in the novel where Minot third party narrator and, in the wiring of my story in this paper, I will use a first-party narrator. Similarly, just as Minot, who has used imagery in her story, I will also incorporate the same technique of imagery in my story to write about the incident of Rosie’s death. I will narrate about this death incident, which is an event that already exist in the novel, from Gus Snr’s perspective. Though the techniques that I have incorporated is in telling the story are narration and imagery, similar to the ones used by Susan Minot in her writing, there is a difference in regards to the use of narrative voices. Unlike in the novel where Gus Snr never gets a voice, in the writing of this story, the focus is give the main character a voice since it will be told with Gus Snr as the narrator.   

Narration of the Auto Accident Event in the Novel from Gus Snr’s Perspective as the Narrator

My wife, Rosie, was involved in auto accident, and I believe this traumatic event that aggravates the subsequent outcomes in my family has everything to do with my alcoholism and infidelity behaviors. Rosie was not only a good wife but also the mother to my children. She devoted maximum efforts to coddling our children and raising them well, as a Catholic, in the doctrines of Christianity. I was an alcohol addict who routinely drunk bourbon every time I returned from work to our large home on the North Shore of Boston. My drinking behaviors became the genesis of my family’s downfall. I was not committed to my work and sustained my lavish lifestyle on my father’s inheritance, but I never worked hard to acquire self-earned possession.

My pathetic work ethic meant that whenever I went to the family store to run the business errands, the only outcome was my bottles of alcohol getting incrementally larger. In this regard, it is undeniable to deduce that the pillar to my family’s sustained success was Rosie. In spite of her commitment to maintain the family elite status, Rosie was also committed to not exposing our family’s problems to the outsiders, and she even hide my alcoholism problem from her family. However, despite Rosie’s effort to keep the family together and successful by managing the family’s store and the inherited wealth well, she came to that I was not only continuing with the unpleasant behavior of drinking but also engaging in infidelity. On confronting me to discuss the matter, a fit of rage ensued and I told her some extremely hurtful words such “go get another husband too,” “you can shoot yourself if you can’t live with my behavior.”

Rose, having been a good wife to me and a caring mother to our children, was extremely tormented by how I treated her with disrespect. I disregarded the efforts that Rosie had shown in managing the family’s wealth sparingly, raising the children well, and trying make our marriage work. Though Rosie remained to be the heart of the family, the constant mistreatment that I subjected her to, even in front of our children, left her extremely tormented and she decides to pursue a revenge against me. The whole family took a shift to the negative direction with my wife, Rosie, who had been the bedrock of its solid foundation now taking a wrong turn of giving up on protecting and helping me and reducing her level of dedication to nurture the children. With the unfolding of these, I stupidly still fail to change my ways and continue to increasingly get engrained in alcohol drinking addiction, which consequently make to start exhibiting abusive and violent behaviors towards both my wife and children.

The children, upon realization that both me and their mother are having some irreconcilable differences, they are assured that their protections of childhood is not guaranteed. The children resort to developing a strong bond them with each of the siblings. They regard this sibling relationship as the only way to survive the aftermath of any unlikely turbulence that might arise, and their prediction comes true as the family indeed becomes torn apart eventually. The tearing apart of my family is triggered by my actions of becoming a distant alcoholic and spending most of my time with the other lady I was having an extra marital affair. As a result, my failure of never having time to spend with my family, Rosie turns to a friend, William Kittredge, for comfort. The connection between Rosie and Kittredge grows and the two consequently engage in an affair that leaves Rosie with a child, Miranda.

The gulf between Rosie and me, though we were still legally married despite both of us engaging in infidelity affairs, widens and we finally become separated in intent, but not permanent residence. After the separation, my wife, Rosie is reported killed in a car accident having been struck by a train while driving home. Sherman, one of our children, brings the idea that he suspects the car accident was a suicide. The thinking that Rosie’s death must have been a suicide is fueled by the idea that she must have felt disappointed with her infidelity actions having been a woman of moral character who held Christian doctrines. Therefore, it is highly probable that my wife must have suffered from the guilt of failing her children by doing contrary to the values she instilled in them and the depression caused by me not being a good husband to her. The children subsequently hold the same conspiracy theory that their mother’s death had everything to do with my perpetual involvement in heavy alcohol drinking, my engagement in infidelity, and the mistreatments that I exposed her to leading to her seeking for comfort from another man.

The children came to understand the extent to which my misdoings as their father made their mother feel unhappy in the marriage and acutely depressed. These situations might have presented the possibility of compelling Rosie to contemplate a suicidal car accident. With the loss of their mother and nowhere to go, the children resolve to confront me about my alcoholism problem in an effort to help me stop drinking, but this attempt fails. The failure to grip with their identities coupled with the absence of their mother to guide them make the children to start drinking as well following the precedence set by me, an already alcohol addict father who never has time to mentor my children on the right ways. The absence of my wife makes the situation get even worse as the children, just as me, their father, become clawed in the addictions of not only using alcohol but also such hard drugs as heroine, cocaine, and bhang. It is, therefore, justifiable to deduce that the case of my family is a reflection of typical wealthy American families struggling to understand acceptance and love due to the bad precedence of actions and behaviors set and shown by parents, which subjects both the parents and children to unending cycle of mental and emotional sufferings.

Work Cited

Minot, Susan. Monkeys. Open Road Media, 2010.

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