Love Despite Hardship

Essay by lhozian June 2014

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Hozian 2

Lauren Hozian

Mrs. Fairman

Honors English I

20 May 2014

Love Despite Hardship

In the novel, The Housekeeper and the Professor, Yoko Ogawa presents an inspiring story about a brilliant math professor, who ever since a head trauma, lives his life with only eighty minutes of memory. Throughout the story, Ogawa portrays what it means to live in the present, and even living with an eighty minute memory, relationships can be formed and happiness can blossom.

In March of 1992, Ogawa is hired as a housekeeper to work for the Professor. Ogawa is a single Mother who lives with her ten year old son, Root. Little does she know that the man she will be taking care of has a memory of only eighty minutes. This man keeps sticky notes on his suit to help him remember important things that go on during each day. The Professor loves baseball, but more important, he loves mathematics, his only way of communication.

Ogawa begins working for the Professor, and every day, she reintroduces herself to him and he replies with "When is your birthday," or "What's your shoe size?" The only way the Professor feels he can reach out is through numbers. The Housekeeper realized this just a few days after she began working for the professor when she said "Soon after I began working for the Professor, I realized that he talked about numbers whenever he was unsure of what to say or do. Numbers were also his way of reaching out to the world. They were safe, a source of comfort. (Ogawa, 7)" The Professor's relationship with numbers is special and the way he uses them begins to draw Root and the Housekeeper to form a bond with him.

The Professor has a special bond with the...