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Inbound Character Analysis

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See the Full Me: The Struggle with Tolerating a Narrow-Minded Society A family is understood to refer to the ways that parents, siblings, and extended family show love, encouragement, and comfort to each other. Each member of a family is meant to respect each other, rely on them, and pay attention each other. However, a family doesn’t function as well when any member is ostracized or ignored, and soon the entire family dynamic falls apart. Sophie, a child wonder, struggles to get her family to pay attention to her needs and struggles to understand why her family is so focused on her sister, Lily, who happens to have Down's syndrome. In “Inbound,” through the disconnect in the family as a whole, the juxtaposition between the sisters,…show more content…
When Ken first describes the trains, Sophie does not understand the purpose of having tracks that were together but separate. Ken explains to her, “When the engineers enlarged the system they ran up against the sewers, so they had to separate inbound and outbound vertically” (3). In the end, when she had her epiphany, Sophie realizes that the trains were separate but will be side by side forever, just like her and her sister. They are sisters but their genetic code, so similar but so different, led to Sophie being a child genius and Lily having Downs Syndrome. That was the “sewer” in their lives. Because of a slight change in tracks, Sophie and Lily were wrenched apart from one another. Even so, they will remain side by side no matter what. Sophie realizes this idea first. In the newspaper house, she thinks, “They would know each other forward and backward. They would run side by side like subway tracks, inbound and outbound. Coextensive.” Sophie understands that even though she has a craving for knowledge and wants to learn everything she can, she will not be able to, for she will always be held at bay by her sister. Lily’s disorder will always reign Sophie in and once her parents need her care, Sophie will have to take care of them as well as Lily. Sophie has been given the gift of genius, but she will never be able to be fully satisfied with her…show more content…
Opening the story, the reader is told that Lily has Down’s syndrome, leading to the belief that Lily is the stories victim. After all, she is handicapped and has a sister who is a child genius. However, as the story continues, it becomes harder to identify who is truly suffering in the story. When Ken tells Sophie that Lily clarifies things, Sophie bitterly thinks “She softened things and made them sticky. [She] and each parent had been separate individuals before Lily came. Now all four melted together like gumdrops left on a windowsill” (5). At first one would think that Lily is the sufferer for her sister dislikes her and there is nothing she can do about it, but when one rereads the story again and again, Sophie is depicted as the victim. Sophie is unable to express her true feelings about her sister to her parents making them unable to help her. Sophie is kept in silence by her parent’s image of her, so she can't really express any of her thoughts that differ from theirs. Furthermore, when Ken takes Sophie into the library, Sophie describes the books as having “no room to breathe” (6). Like the books, Sophie is suffocated by her parent’s expectations leaving her with no space to “breathe” and be herself. She cannot do anything without acknowledging their wants and expectations of her. Sometimes the simple fact that Sophie is a seven-year-old child is
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