Uncle Tom's Children

Coping with Grief: "The Management of Grief" and "Big Boy Leaves Home" College

Traumatic events leave an unforgettable imprint on people. Often, it is the way in which people handle trauma that determines how they will move on with their lives. Bharati Mukherjee’s “The Management of Grief” discusses the bombing of a plane that caused the death of many, and how the families of these people go about dealing with the grief they must face. Richard Wright’s “Big Boy Leaves Home” follows Big Boy as he runs away after killing a white soldier who murdered two of his friends. As he attempts to hide and survive, he must also grieve for his friends. Both stories focus on tragedy and grief, and the ways in which how these characters go about grieving reflects on the realities that affect everyone.

Mukherjee begins her story by setting up a chaotic scene. Many are gathered in Sheila’s home trying to make sense of a plane that had supposedly gone off the grid but that was rumored to have had a terrorist bomb. In order to comprehend the intensity of the situation, Mukherjee writes, “Two radios are going on in the dining room. They are attuned to different stations… The big TV in the den is being whizzed through American networks and cable channels.” (156) The description of this scene depicts how no one knows nor...

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