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Essay/Term paper: Bernadette

Essay, term paper, research paper:  College Term Papers

Free essays available online are good but they will not follow the guidelines of your particular writing assignment. If you need a custom term paper on College Term Papers: Bernadette, you can hire a professional writer here to write you a high quality authentic essay. While free essays can be traced by Turnitin (plagiarism detection program), our custom written essays will pass any plagiarism test. Our writing service will save you time and grade.

Fear, it has a way of controlling everything that it comes in contact

with. As young children we are introduced to this intimidating desire

with intrigue and suspicion. As we age, the thoughts of fears become

more like realities, ideas of loneliness and death enter the picture as

comprehensible thoughts and views of the future. These issues make

up the foundation of the Mavis Gallant story "Bernadette". In this story

we are presented with the image of a young French Canadian girl, who

finds herself pregnant and without a husband. The context of the story

explores the relationships between the members of the household in a

fear associated manner. The relationship between the Knights and

Bernadette is the base of the story. These three people relate to each

other in an intimidating fashion and this is what makes Bernadette"s

predicament so difficult to overcome. As well, the family ties between

Nora and Robbie are explored. Their family relationship is one based on

dependence, and without this one factor the connection between the two

results in fearfulness of being alone. Fear has a way of attacking our

judgment and this is what makes associations between people an

apprehensive and hard act.

The story is set in Quebec during the 1940-1950, when what you

were was the definition of who you were. As the story opens we are

presented with the main character Bernadette, who is concluding that

she is one hundred and twenty-six days pregnant. At this time in history

it was quit common for young rural girls to bare children at a young

age. However, Bernadette is a single French Canadian girl who is

working and living in a urban community, where things like that do not

take place. We are here introduced to the first fear presented in the

story: --How will Bernadette tell the Knights that she is pregnant? --

The answer to the question is what haunts her, and the reaction of the

Knights is the anxiety that builds up inside of her. These intimidating

fears places Bernadette in a compromising situation, she is in a position

of abandonment by her family and the shame she thinks she has

brought on to the Knights. These fears have forced her to react in

an unusual fashion. Bernadette is so fearful of what they might think

that she tries to hide herself in her work so that she is not placed in the

position where she will have to interact with the Knights.

The fear of failure and disappointment took control over her mind.

When around the Knights she worked as a robot in order not to arouse

ideas of her current condition. Her nervous fears brought her to the

point of giving in to their expectations and allowing herself to lie to them

about the books she read and the men she saw. Her images of her dead

siblings as angels would comfort her fears at time, but would also bring

up new ones. She would wonder about her child and the life that was

waiting for it; would it live a life like hers or would it pray for her in the


The Knights were a couple that were brought together by

convenience and fears. Nora was concord by the fear of not being in

control, she had to be the one person everyone depended on in time of

need. From her positions on committees to the forgiving attitude she

showed Robbie about his many affairs, Nora always had the upper hand

in any given situation. The affairs that Robbie had, showed Nora that he

wasn"t as dependent on her as she wanted him to be, that is why she

would treat the problem as a solvable condition, in order to keep Robbie

under her control. We are told about Robbie"s dreams of being a

playwright and fears of failure and the poverty that might follow. These

fears were reinforced by Nora; her fears of failure, allowed herself to place

her children into private boarding school, so that would not have to

suffer the thoughts of bringing up her children wrong.

All the fears that controlled their lives affirmed their ideas of how

life was to be lived. The fears of being alone brought Nora to the point

where she was ready to do everything that she could to keep Robbie

apart of her life. This point is proven at the end of the story when Nora"s

suspicions about Robbie and Bernadette bring her to suggesting that

they pay for Bernadette to be placed in a home so that she can

continues her life with Robbie as if undisturbed.

As well, the anxiety she experiences is tested at the party she holds

where her total control is lost by all the disturbing news she is given

about her husband and Bernadette. She is forced to continue with the

party in confusion and despair.

This intertwined relationship between the Knights and Bernadette

illustrate how people are fearful and deceitful to each other even when

living under the same roof. The fabrications of tales and unseen

conditions brought out the anxieties in each of the characters. These

fears are manifested at the initial start of the relationships and continue

to grow if not put to rest. This is seen when the pressure of the unborn

child is released from Bernadette"s conscience when Nora is forced to

corner Bernadette in the kitchen to question her about the suspicions of

her pregnancy.

Bernadette and the Knights are characters that display for us the

results of what may happen when we let our fears control us to the point

that they are seen more as truth instead of obstacles. Fears are great

deterrents and allow us to see things not for what they are. In

conclusion, we must all face the fact that fears and anxieties will forever

be present in our lives, but we must progress to the stage where we can

see them for what they are instead of allowing them to enter our existing



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