I knew when I first read about the two oak stumps that they would be a symbol for something significant. As I got to the end of the story I realized that the two dead trees symbolized the two deaths of the brothers. The younger brother died physically while something in the older brother died emotionally. It was very true that the family in the story contained little secluded groups, jealousy and competition for power.
The brother's illness forced his sister to be more than a sibling, even more than a friend, but a mother. The strong feelings that she has for her brother's well being transformed her into a woman. Most young daughters look up to their mothers. They do things to follow in their mother's footsteps, but not Mary. She takes control and commands her mother to listen to her demands. Mary understood that her brother had a weak heart.
Yet, she saw that when her mother told him not to do things, like run barefoot or play in the rain, that is what really made him ill. Mary could no longer take seeing her brother upset. Mary scolded her mother. " You should have more sense than that, mother."ÃÂ It was at that point that the mother learned from the child.
Mary gained a conflict with the others because they hindered her brother from being able to do things that made him happy. She had a great resentment against them because they constantly reminded her brother of his death. The author even described Mary as a solider standing guard over Ted. For some reason Mary has a great admiration for her younger brother Ted. It is said that Mary being a female it is quite natural for her to admire Don. But to her...