Sarah Rakel Orton's Scars And Scales

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Sarah Rakel Orton differentiates the healing processes of men and women after a traumatic event by using scars and scales as metaphors to examine the reactions of death in a family by surviving members and to juxtapose mental and physical coping methods of men and women in her short story, “Scars and Scales.” After the death of her mother the narrator is left to care for the rest of her family: her father and two brothers. The narrator encounters her own, personal reactions to her mother’s passing. “I saw scars bubbling beneath the surface: rippled flesh, mother to daughter,” (Orton 17). The narrator describes vividly the scarring occurring in her flesh, and the inclusion of the phrase, “mother to daughter” signifies that her mother passes…show more content…
“A week later Dad and Michael and Leo burned in their beds while I heated soup and took temperatures…When I saw their tails beginning to grow – a protuberance of spiked flesh gliding from their spines – I did not call the doctor,” (Orton 17). The narrator describes the development of scales over time and the author uses these scales to show the physical coping methods of Michael, Leo, and the father. Orton describes the changes in the brothers and the father as a sickness, as though after their mother, or wife, died they came down with a sickness that physically alters their appearance. This physical reaction that Orton utilizes among the men of the family, contributes to the metaphor of the overall story, scars, an emotional reaction, and scales, a physical reaction. The author’s use of scales as a metaphor and description of the detail in the skin, tail, and situation in which the narrator is placed in further distinguishes the coping methods of males and females. Males tend to have a more physical reaction when dealing with trauma, as exemplified by the scales, whereas females tend to have a mental reaction, as shown by the scars. The narrator, father, Michael and Leo all experience the same trauma but the author metaphorically
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