Loss Of Loss In Short Stories

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In the short stories “Gwilans Harp” by Ursula K. le Guin, “The Washwoman” by Isaac Singer, and “The Last Leaf” by O. Henry all the characters experience a loss of some kind. In “Gwilans Harp” Gwilan loses her favorite harp, her husband, and her ability to play. “The Washwoman” focuses on the loss of a woman’s contact with her son, her health, and her ability to work. Finally, in “The Last Leaf” the two young ladies Johnsy and Sue learn loss through the loss of Johnsy’s health, the loss of hope, and the loss of their neighbor. Despite the fact that all the short stories deal with the theme of loss they deal with this theme differently. To begin, Ursula K. le Guin presents the theme of loss through Gwilan, and the loss of both her harp and her husband. While traveling Gwilans cart crashes and in the crash her harp is destroyed. “she did not take out a harp, but a piece of wood, and another piece, and a tangle of strings, and a sliver of ivory, and a twisted shell of silver chased with lines...” (Guin) After crashing Gwilan is forced to deal with the loss of her favorite harp. She decided that to deal with this loss she would marry Torm. Later on, after being married to Torm for quite some time Torm dies. “Torm took ill. He went from a cough to a high fever to quietness. and died while Gwilan sat beside him.” (Guin) Through these examples readers can see the consistent theme of loss and the ways Gwilan deals with the loss of her harp and husband. “The Washwoman” by Isaac
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