Carson McCullers story A Domestic Dilemma depicts a family torn by both compassion and suffering. Martin, a loving and understanding husband must deal with his familys problems. Martins wife, Emily, distraught by her new environment, initiates her familys difficulties with her drinking habits. The story examines a familys severe problems, and yet also illustrates the depth of love and loyalty that allows people to survive adversity. McCullers examines within the depth of one family how the full spectrum of love can destroy the romantics of love.
The conflicts in the family surround Martin and Emilys relationship. Emilys drinking habits initiate a confrontation with Martin. When Martin inquires about his wifes earlier drinking, she immediately responds because I drink a couple of sherries in the afternoon youre trying to make out a drunkard in a sharp, unforgiving tone(99). According to Roberta Caplan, some people may drink abusively during a personal crisis and then resume normal drinking (Groiler) which explains Emilys rhythmic sorrow filled with alcohol(102). In addition, fear and worry for his wife an children make Martin feel uneasy. Returning from work a year ago, Martin stumbled upon his children crying and his wife intoxicated after the baby had been dropped on her frail skull(100). Martin then hired a maid in order to watch the children and look after Emily(100). Significantly, the settings effect on the familys relationship demolishes their closeness. Martins surroundings seemed vast and somehow desolate because he is aware of his wifes displeasure living up north (97). Being away from her family and friends in Alabama, Emily takes out her frustration of her new environment on her family(100). Many flaws exist within this family;however, the family still seeks comfort in one another.
Although Martins family faces dilemmas, the love in the family remains evident. Initially, the devotion that Martin shows towards his children illustrates his good nature. Martin views his childrens faces as radiant as flower petals, equally loved (103). Moreover illustrating his love for his children, Martin kissed the tiny hand that lay palm-upward (103). Furthermore, Martins hope to hold his family together exhibits his affection for his family. Martin constantly attempts to calm his wife in order to avoid displays of anger(101). Please go upstairs,(101) Martin begs of his wife so the children do not get upset seeing their mother frustrated. Lastly, the physical and emotional desire for Emily that Martin has, further shows how he cares for his family. Comforting his wife, Martin exhibits his love for her(104). Martin watched Emily as she slept and his old anger vanished(104).
McCullers fully examines the immense complexities of love(104) in depicting both the conflict an love within one family, and how this can tear a family apart. Problems such as drinking excessively cause relationships to deteriorate. The dependence on each other and love for one another holds a family together. Ultimately, McCullers past encounters with alcohol and family drove her to write this story which shows that the choices people make vary depending on their intentions(Groiler).
A Theme Analysis
A Domestic Dilemma