White Oleander Rhetorical Analysis

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Throughout recent years, mental illness has become a belittled and “taboo” topic in a multitude of different societies. As a result, a majority of the world’s population isn’t exactly clear as to how one should approach those suffering from mental instability. Unlike physical illness, where an entire system of doctors and hospitals and medical research developed in order to cater to those who were physically ill, mental illnesses do not get nearly as much attention. Some would argue that a physical illness proves to be significantly more detrimental to one’s day to day life. However, observation of mentally ill individuals proves that mental illness can be as equally debilitating (you probably know someone in your life who has died from the…show more content…
With medical institutions prescribing anti-depressants and other pills that either help with little success or don’t help at all, is the younger generation safe in the hands of a mentally ill parent, and does mental instability morally justify the neglect of a child? For an example, “White Oleander” written by Janet Fitch features a young girl named Astrid who lives amidst the boundaries of the foster care system, and Fitch depicts Astrid’s coming-of-age story. Through thick and thin, Astrid learned to handle the reins of life in several different houses, each with different rules and different expectations. Claire, one of Astrid’s more notable foster mothers, was mostly likely suffering from depression and paranoia throughout the duration of her time with Astrid. Despite the fact that Claire seems like a kind and caring mother at first glance, Astrid soon learns that all is not what it seems in the Richards’ house. When Claire breaks down after accusing her husband of cheating multiple times, begins to falter in her normal day-to-day…show more content…
From a Friends for Mental Health article titled “Children living with a mentally ill parent,” by Jaimie Byrne, the prospect of living with a mentally ill parent is said to be “chaotic, disorganized, and filled with tension,” if the proper steps towards understanding the mental illness are not made naturally. The article encourages children to fully acknowledge the fact that their parent(s) are “sick,” -- as physical illness is a common ground for young people, a concept which they can grasp -- and that they are in need of support and acceptance in order to live a fulfilling and healthy home life. They must also educate themselves on the mental illness and what to say when a parent’s mental illness is at its worst. Living with a mentally ill parent is completely possible, and should not be used as an excuse for neglect. There are simply more things to take note of and to do in order to maintain a strong parent-child relationship. Astrid’s birth mother, Ingrid Magnussen, as well as Claire Richards who is analyzed in the previous paragraph, are both prime examples of parents who beat around the bush. Personality-wise, they’re described as polar opposites. Mentally, they both act in denial of their own problems. Ingrid believes she’s truly the center of the world; “we’re the vikings.” Claire wants Astrid to thrive in whatever she does and encourages
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