Essay One: Final Version

965 words 4 pages
Essay One: Final Version
How Family Folklore Alters Through Experience Over Time Elders in a family often tell youngsters stories of their past. Moreover, Steven Zeitlin, Amy Kotkin, and Holly Cutting Baker, assert in “Family Stories” that “Family stories are usually based on real incidents which become embellished over the years” (10). These stories tend to change as people age and experience various situations. Canfield’s short story “Sex Education” depicts Aunt Minnie, a woman who faced a traumatic sexual experience as a teenager, telling her story to an audience of younger generations at three different stages of her life; each account is told in a different manner as she experiences various situations that involve sexuality, namely
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Although she is characterized as much more moderate and calm, Aunt Minnie is still argumentative and agitated.
As the story comes to a resolution, the plot exposes Aunt Minnie as old and timeworn and her third and last account of her story in the cornfields is very different from the first, as her characterization now is one that is fully aware of the man/woman relationship with sexuality. She understands that she had been interested in the minister and that was why she ran to him and hugged him tightly, admitting that “[she] had been, all along, kind of interested in him” (790), and how she “thought the reason [she] threw [her] arms around him was because [she] had been scared” (790), and finally that “that wasn’t all the reason [she] flung [her]self at Malcolm Fairchild and hugged him” (790). Aunt Minnie also acknowledges that it was not his fault at all that he had “the look” in his face. She also honestly takes credit for being lost in the cornfields as her own fault. Not only insightful and knowledgeable in dealings with sexuality, Aunt Minnie, in the last telling of her stories is described as also serene, direct, and even nostalgic about the “horrific” event that had occurred in her teenage years.
Through her short story “Sex Education,” in the form of a family folklore, Canfield interprets sexual learning and desires and how they alter as people age and experience various situations that involve sexuality. Also through the characterization of


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