The Glass Roses Alden Nowlan Analysis

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What do you think is beautiful? Our cognition of beauty depends on several factors. How we

were raised being one of them. We find Stephen as a young man, really still a boy, working at the local

pulp mill with his father and all the other men in town. Stephen, whose father seems to be of

influence to him, is not sure what is beautiful. In the story The Glass Roses by Alden Nowlan, Stephen

struggles with figuring out if what he thinks is beautiful is right or wrong based on the perceptions of

people around him. Beauty can be held in many things such as memories, or ideals passed onto us

from our parents. Generally speaking, one can see beauty in anything. The idea of beauty differs from

person to person, and conflict can arise from this simple fact.
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Lekas memories are

beautiful compared to reality, and when the roses are smashed it contrasts to their sobering reality.

However, Leka shows Stephen how that being different and having your own ideals and ideas can be

beautiful, like his mother's glass roses.

Stephen becomes torn between these two ideas of beauty. On one hand he is attracted to this

new sense of storytelling and adventuring. On the other, familial pressures and body image push him

towards his father’s ideals. When he becomes friends with the polack he sees through his fathers

eyes, he does not wish to accept the beauty in Leka’s stories because he does not want to appear

childish or weak. The other men such as Stephen’s father lack something which Leka has. He has an

invitation for closeness, which is absent in the pulp mill.

Stephen, who has very deeply seeded, pre-conceived notions of what it is to be a man, at a

time in his life when his beliefs are questioned. In our youth, we find many things beautiful. Stephen is

forcing himself to grow up too quickly in order to please his father. The way his father is teaching
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