“This Cody” Comparison Essay “What I wanted, I know now, was just to say our son’s name out loud. The crisp “c” and the rolling “o” and the slight flick of the tongue for the “dy”” (Anderson 5). This quote comes from the story “This Cody” by Lauri Anderson. It states how the narrator misses being able to say her sons name for he died not too long ago because he was kidnapped in a park. The husband feels as though his wife is a shame to him and she believes that the reason he does not look at her the same anymore is because the son looked exactly like her.
Every time he looks at her face he sees his son and misses him so much. Although the author talks about many different types of scenes that the wife talks about in this story, Lauri Anderson portrays the narrator as a static character. I say she is a fixed character because her beliefs stay the same throughout the entire passage. For instance, she thinks the dam is going to break constantly, she thinks her husband does not love her anymore because it was her fault for their son dying and also she tells the cops three bold face lies about her son.
The narrator has dreams about the dam breaking throughout the entire short story. In these dreams, the author has the narrator use imagery to describe her dreams and how intense they were. For example, “I have dreams about it. They all start the same way. We wake to water two inches deep and the dogs whining, backed into their corners. All night we sweep the water out, but by morning, we’re wading waist-deep in the cold, fishless shallows, filling our buckets” (Anderson 4).
The river that used to go through their neighborhood is not being stopped by the dam and the wife gives the river and the dam human characteristics, which is personification, and says that the river is mad and wants to destroy everything that is now in its path. “What I have learned is that when the river returns, it won’t be the same river. All that time pushing against a wall will make you desperate. All that time, you won’t care about this tidy home or that. If you are the river, you will say, show me a thing I can’t destroy, and if you are the dam, and you are tired of pushing back, you will secretly want to let go” (Anderson 6-7).
The narrator also says “Sometimes I can hear a humming that seems to come from two places at once: from far down the creek and also somewhere inside me, as if the dam is as much aware of me as I am of it. As if I need only to step onto the porch and open my arms” (12). This is an example of personification. The wife thinks that the dam knows as much about her as she knows about the dam. She thinks that the dam is going to spill all of her secrets and make everything worse than what it is now between her husband and herself.
The dam is also an example of a symbol because it represents the relationship between the wife and the husband. “The dam is holding back every drop it was built to contain. Its concrete walls are eight feet thick. It is designed to collapse in and not out” (Anderson 16). All of the lies that she told the police and her husband are hidden behind the dam and the moment that the dam breaks is the moment when the entire world will know that she was selfish. “I told myself that he was fine, the park was safe. I told myself I deserved a few minutes alone with the sun and with the trees moving overhead” (Anderson 16).
She was selfish in thinking that she needed time to rest her eyes in a public place instead of looking out for where her son was and knowing exactly where he was. Instead of thinking he is just in one of his hiding places or sitting on the ground right in front of her, she should have been going everywhere that he went. The wife’s husband did not start getting mad at her and being disgusted with her presence until their son died. The wife lied to the cops three times when their son died so that the blame was not on her and the husband would not leave her. On the day I lost our son, I told three lies. First, I said he had only been missing for fifteen minutes, when it was really more like an hour. Fifteen minutes still sounded hopeful, I thought” (Anderson 6). She thought that the lie would make herself feel better and it did for a while but she eventually started feeling bad about lying to the cops about something that was her fault. “The second lie I told on that day I lost my son was about a hat. I told the detective he was wearing one-a blue baseball cap with an orange fish on the front.
I said this because it was a hot day, nearly ninety degrees in the city, and when we arrived at the park, I saw all of the kids were wearing hats and even tiny pairs of glasses” (Anderson 10-11). The wife did not want to seem like a bad mother because she lost her own son, although later it would be established that she was, so she lied to the cops about her own son wearing a hat and watched the man write it down on his notepad without even flinching or showing regret on her face. There were a number of things that the narrator confesses to the audience about what she did not tell the cops at the end of the story. I’ve never said that I leaned my head back and closed my eyes. I’ve never said that that I’d forgotten my sunglasses, and that the sun threw dappled shadows on my eyelids. No one knows that for maybe half an hour before I faded into sleep, I listened to my son playing nearby with another child, the sound like birds chasing each other in the trees” (Anderson 15). This quote is an example of dramatic irony in that the husband does not know that it was the wife’s fault for their son being kidnapped. We the audience knows that she was the reason that her son was stolen at a park and kidnapped and had God know what done to him.
The narrator also uses imagery to show how much the husband changed the way he looked and how different and difficult her life is now that their son died. “Some days I don’t recognize him. He’s grown out his beard, and the paunch I so lovingly stroked is now all muscle, his abdominals like flat stones stacked atop one another” (Anderson 4). The narrator’s husband changed the way he looked after the death. “I’m different two. Our dogs, two purebred Heelers Brian insisted we buy to go with our new life, won’t come when I call. The chickens peck my head when I reach for the eggs. The garden dies all at once, overnight.
Last night, I found a scorpion on my pillow, his dancer’s arms poised to strike” (Anderson 4). This quote states how much the place that she is living now does not like her and she feels as though they are all out to get her, including her own husband. The author of the story “This Cody”, Lauri Anderson, uses different types of figurative language and imagery to portray the narrator as a static character. The wife is constantly thinking that the dam is going to break and all of her secrets will be revealed to her husband and the rest of the world and she everyone would know how bad of a mother she is.
Throughout the story the narrator believes that her husband does not love her anymore because he blames her for his son’s death. He can not stand to look at her for their son looked exactly like her and every time he looks at her he sees his dead son. Also she continuously tells lies to the police and her husband about their son and what really happened that day at the park when he went missing. Works Cited Anderson, Lauri. “This Cody. ” The Greensboro Review. 91. Spring (2012) : 4-16. Print.
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