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Perfection In Donna Milner's After River

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All that glitters is not gold. As a child, one often believes that one's life is perfect, but as one is exposed to the ugliness of the world, pain shatters the illusion, engendering the arrival of maturity and adulthood. Donna Milner's After River examines issues evolving around the childish notion of perfection. Natalie never realizes that her perfect family is naught but a false pretense; her enthrallment in perfection and inability to shed the childish belief hinders her growth. In order to comprehend the harm of perfection, one must contemplate the mentality perfection instills. Natalie's immersion in perfection fosters her to be naive: "Suffering and grief were not part of that sunshine time of our lives. They were something that happened…show more content…
She constantly compares her current reality to the past perfection: "I tried not to compare their lives to those of my own family" (282). Her new relationships stem from her thirst to replace Boyer and River: "All of them, all the men in my life, except Vern, have had some resemblance to Boyer. And to River. "The implication of what she is saying is not lost on me. Is that what I do? Leave them, run away, when I realize they're not Royer - or River?" (287): Natalie's usage of an unrealistic past as the blueprint for future relationships leads to her inability to form relationships as an adult. Although Natalie's physical appearance is of a middle-aged woman, her maturity remains equivalent to that of a naive child. From childhood to adulthood, Natalie's inability to discern that the perfect family is naught but a childish fantasy inhibits her mental growth. Perfection causes Natalie to be unprepared for the world; the sudden loss of perfection causes trauma that burdens her throughout her entire life and her inability to let go of perfection causes her to seek the past rather than the future. Until Natalie relinquishes her notion of perfection, Natalie will never attain
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