Average Waves In Unprotected Waters Summary

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In “Average Waves in Unprotected Waters” by Anne Tyler, readers follow Bet Blevins and her mentally disabled son, Arnold, during the 1970’s. The two were on a journey to a mental institution where Arnold would be living. Anne Tyler shows the battle of a single mother trying to raise a disabled child and struggling to do so. The point of view of the story is third person limited, and mainly focuses on Bet’s insecurity about parenting, her struggles to continue raising Arnold, and the signs that she loved him. The readers are allowed to see what the pair’s relationship is like at home, on the train, and at the institution. Before leaving the apartment, Bet was said to have felt too frail and wispy to complete her tasks…show more content…
Bet had always felt bad about how she carefully put him in his clothes like a doll, and how he looked so…show more content…
Arnold loves gum; subsequently, Bet keeps watch when he eats it. Bet is constantly worried that if she doesn't watch Arnold then he’ll swallow it and clog his kidneys. She had moments, on and off the journey, where she pegged the blame of the mutated gene on her ex-spouse and sometimes the blame was on her.She had moments, on and off the journey, where she pegged the blame of the mutated gene on her ex-spouse. She pictured "some kind of evil gene" in her husband's body. Other times she blamed herself because "it seemed so natural" since "she never could do anything as well as most people. At one point Arnold got antsy and Bet felt guilty for not bringing him a picture book. She considered giving him his medication, but she feared that he would choke on them during his screams. Bet was thankful for the lady that created a distraction for Arnold. She was constantly worried that giving him medication could harm him due to a choking hazard, she felt like a bad mother for not bringing something to keep Arnold occupied, but she also felt good about the fact that she bought him gum since he loves

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