Psychological Development in Housekeeping and The Other College

In the novel Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson, two sisters are drawn and held together through traumatic shifts in their caregivers. They value the dependability and mutual benefit offered by each other. In The Other by David Guterson, two “blood brothers” come together over shared interests and loss. They figure that two lonely people are better than one. Yet, on both accounts, the pair fails to withstand the test of time. Similar beginnings lead to disjoint conclusions, with one member of each pair moving away, into transience.

Ruth and Lucille in Robinson's narrative have a tough life, and strife often tends to bring people together. Following the untimely death of their mother, the two girls are routinely passed from caregiver to caregiver, none of whom met their needs. With no reliable home life to offer support, this duo is pushed to seek comfort and companionship solely in each other. As the girls’ ties to the outside world weaken, their reliance on one another must become stronger. Initially, as they stroll through their small town of Fingerbone, where it is “[their] custom to prowl the dawn of any significant day”, they take in their surroundings and form opinions as though they were one person (Robinson 49). These...

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