Story Of Land And Sea Analysis

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In The Story of Land and Sea, Katy Simpson Smith composes this society full of subtle contrasting forces and the reader follows through the lives of three generations of a family in the three part split of the book, the third part of the book being Asa and his late wife, the second, his daughter Helen and son-in-law John, the first, his granddaughter Tabitha, fondly referred to as Tab. Smith never informs the last names of these character, furthering to help the reader forge this emotional bond with them. Pulling on your heart, Smith evokes readers to form an attachment to each character, a sympathy for their situation, and a righteous justice about their treatment and decisions. Through constant struggle with pain and tragedy, the differences…show more content…
Tab, an inquisitive soon to be 10 year old, falls in longing for this sea that she catches glimpses of from her father through his stories. She goes to collect treasure from the beach often while her father works and longs for his late wife. One night when, “she has a rasp in her throat that feels like dry biscuits,” (Smith 13) Tab falls asleep leaning on the cold window dreaming of boats and adventures. That same night, John, haunted by the his loss of his wife Helen, “wakes in the middle of the night, as he often does, to her voice calling him.” (Smith 15) Smith constructs this juxtaposition of Tab’s uncomplicated hope through her sick feelings and John’s clinging emptiness of loss and awakens an emotional attachment to these two characters, readers being able to connect with Tab’s childlike dreaming and John’s loss. When Tab is later found to be sick, John, because of his past when his wife experienced a sense of freedom at sea, clings to a hope that going to the sea will cure the illness of his daughter. He does this despite the knowledge that staying where her grandfather can see her, in case things take a turn for the worse, and where a more qualified doctor seems to be the better option. This choice doesn’t work as he had hope for and the beloved Tab end up dying at sea, deserting John with another loss to try to cope

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