Surviving an Unforgiving Childhood (Dorothy Allison’s River of Names)

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Surviving an unforgiving childhood (Dorothy Allison’s River of names) Our experiences in life start from when we are children and stays with us throughout our life. The situations we go through in our childhood are the most crucial ones as it serves as footing to our adulthood. A person’s childhood shapes who they become, how they relate to others and how they will live their life. One’s ethics and merits begin developing throughout their childhood, which is why it is important to have a “proper” childhood experience. Abuse of any kind throughout one’s childhood can scar a person for life. “Rivers of Names” by Dorothy Allison is a sad and humorous story told in the first person by the narrator who has had a very rough and tough childhood characterized with death, hardship, rape, abuse, theft and many other social problems. While this story is more sad and depressing than most people's childhoods it does show how our childhoods and our ‘skeletons’ shape who we are as we get older. Knowing the author’s background, it is very clear that Allison speaks through this narrator with unwavering truth about a world where pain and love intersect. Allison’s characters are notably similar to her own poor southern family. And even the story seems to follow and mimic her own escape from the fate that destroyed so many generations of her family and would have swallowed her alive. She used writing as a means to fight back and to expose the evils of her childhood. By writing this story as fictions it makes it possible for her to create the basic detachment needed to comprehend the transparency of the characters without being too sentimental. In that aspect her characters are not lacking in depth and it is because of this nonfictional pretense that some of the images are so horrifying. Allison used the story to tell the readers that she is not broken, and given the chance, life

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