Reconstruction of Memory - Tylier Driscoll

My elbow lied on the armrest, with my jaw in my hand. As I glared out of the window, I let my eyelids float along my eyes. I felt tired, but I couldn’t go to sleep because the bus was too cold, so I sat in silence and watched my reflection cascade over the mountaintops. When did I get so old? It feels like just yesterday I was living with those I used to call my family. My family and I were kinda like a beat-up car. It’s funny now, but we were so beat up that we were constantly in need of repairs. Everytime the mechanic fixed us there was always something else, we were always in need of an oil change.

This one time, I had to be about 15 and I did not want to live with my parents anymore. I hated it. Living with them felt like living alone because there was no support.

“I’m hungry,” I said to my mom who was tucked away on the living room couch.

“Well go find something to eat then” she said casually, as if we had food in the house to sift through.

“We only have these arbitrary ingredients, I can’t make anything out of these.” I responded, hoping that she’d throw me a bone and feed me.

“Well we have bread, and a toaster. So figure something out.” This was my mom at her most helpful. I looked at her from our tiny kitchen and I saw that she’s sank into the couch even further than she has before, she’s not getting up. Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever seen her get up from that couch before.

“We don’t have anymore bread, I ate it all. You’ve been telling me that for the past three days.” Then she said something along the lines of, “Well, look for something else then. You need to learn independence, start feedin’ yourself. I’m not gonna be here all the time, start lookin out for yourself,” she continued.  “‘Cause at the end of the day it’s kill or be killed.” She answered.

Authors Note:

I chose to emulate Kesey’s use and structure of dialogue for the memory reconstruction so each sentence pushed the story along in a significant way. I also emulated Kesey’s writing style because of the metaphors and symbolism that he presents in OFOTCN. My main goal was to use a central symbol/metaphor to support the memory so I used the concept of a broken down car to signify the main speaker’s relationship with their family. I took the reflectiveness from Atwood’s work and applied it to my own so that my character has distance from the thought of their family.

Comments (1)

Sarah Berg (Student 2019)
Sarah Berg

I think you particularly were able to reflect Kesey's style in the piece. The tone of the narrator is sort of similar to Chief Bromden's tone in the way that it is more casual than Offred's. The use of a metaphor really contributed to the piece and it would have been interesting if it extended longer. I am wondering more about the other members of the family and what role they had in the beat up car.