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Much More Than a Bowl

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Josue Paulino

Eng 201

May 23 2018

Essay #1

Professor Urbanski

                                        Much more than a Bowl


        Objects inherently hold little meaning. It is up to us the people to give said object a meaning, whether it is glasses to help out your eyesight, or pencil to write stuff down. But there are times when an object could hold much more of a meaning than its practical uses. Sometimes an object could hold sentimental value and cause us to treat differently than its actual intended purpose. Ann Beatie’s Story called “Janus” tells a story about a woman’s passionate feelings for a ceramic bowl and discovering what the object means to her.  

The story starts with our protagonist named Andrea who works as a real estate agent who carries a bowl with her to every house she attempts to sell. Andrea sees the bowl as a good luck charm and felt like it was a “trick used to convince a buyer that the house is quite special” (Beatie, 1).  As the story progresses the reader comes to realize that the bowl much more than just a marketing trick for her. She begins to imbue the bowl with a lot more imaginative powers noting that the bowl “seemed to glow no matter what light was placed in” (Beatie, 1). The bowl seems to fill a void that she is currently feeling in her life as Andrea and her husband seems to have hit a lull in their relationship. The bowl appears to have compensated for her sense of emptiness as the bowl would be focal point of most of her days,

Now she stopped doing that, for all her strategies involved the bowl. She became more deliberate with the bowl, and more possessive. She put it in houses only when no one was there, and removed it when she left the house. (Beatie, 4)

As we reach the climax of the story we come to learn the bowl was actually a gift from her lover, which seems to explain the big fixation on the bowl. The lover later leaves because she was unable to leave her husband for him, claiming that she wanted to “have it both ways” (Beatie, 5). The bowl remains as an artifact of what is lost and now becomes emblematic of what she is longing for.         

        “Janus” reminds me deeply of an item I once held very deeply to me, a wooden bracelet given to me by late grandmother. To preface this a bit more in my family always functioned as a matriarchy so many of the events in my family revolved around my grandmother. As such she had a huge involvement in my life and was there for all almost the major events I had as a youngling. I was around the age of 12 when I received this ordinary, somewhat bulky, and uncomfortable bracelet from my Grandma. She got it for me saying “it looks nice with your skin complexion”, although I did not completely agree with that statement I was fine with receiving a small gift like that as it was token of kindness from my Grandma. I wouldn’t wear it that since honestly speaking I did not like it much. But that all changed when my grandma passed away abruptly and all of a sudden that bracelet became much more prevalent in my life. That bracelet would be with me wherever I would go without fail. I felt that wearing the bracelet was like an obligation that I had to abide, so much that I would refuse to take it off no matter the circumstances. The thought of losing the bracelet was one that induced a feeling of dread and for a long time I couldn’t figure out why. Similarly to how Andrea didn’t understand why the bowl held so much importance in her life “The bowl was a mystery, even to her” (Beatie,4). Then one day as I was rushing to high school, a pesky little nail was poking out from a wall in my hallway and proceeded to cut myself and break the bracelet in the process. As I looked down at the bracelet broken into pieces like a shattered vase, it dawned on me that the bracelet was the item my grandma ever gifted me. The way the bracelet was given to me conveyed how much of a sweet and thoughtful person my grandma was that by not wearing it I felt like I was dishonoring her.        



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