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George Bernard Shaw

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George Bernard Shaw was the youngest child in his family. His father, George Carr Shaw, was a drunkard and his mother, Lucinda Elizabeth Gurly Shaw, a professional singer. When Bernard Shaw was almost 16, Lucinda left her husband, six years her senior, and moved to London with her vocal coach. Although she brought along her two daughters, she left Bernard Shaw with his father, although he later left his father and followed his family to London. His mother, while having a close relationship with his sisters, remained emotionally distant from her only son. She never even made an attempt to teach him music or send him to a University, though he was obviously bright. This distant and dysfunctional relationship with his mother is evident in the excerpt from the letter Bernard Shaw wrote concerning the death of his mother.

Shaw's tone in the passage describing his mother's cremation is eerily detached and cool, but still slightly caring. He describes the process as mysterious and wonderful; he seems to be fascinated by it. Through the near entirety of the description, he discusses the mystery of the process itself and seems to disregard the fact that it is his mother who is being cremated, or is at least only slightly affected by it. He approaches the event as if it were an observation of a magic trick. "And behold! The feet burst miraculously into steaming ribbons of garnet colored lovely flame... and my mother became that beautiful fire." Shaw does not seem to be disturbed by witnessing her cremation but is rather at peace while he is admiring the beautiful transition.

At the end of the process, men are separating the ashes of the coffin and the corpse from the remaining scraps of the coffin and bone samples. Shaw describes these men as "two cooks busy at it" and the tone changes to an extremely humorous one. He even described the end as "wildly funny." According to Shaw, his mother was observing the end of the procedure alongside him "shaking with laughter." It is apparent Shaw has decided the remaining ashes and bone



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