Those Left Behind

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The first Bradbury story really struck me from the first sentence. He describes the end of summer very accurately. The picture of the beach just formed in your mind. It was like watching a movie. Every summer I feel like the boy did. At first, summer is lively and everyone is going on vacation. Then things slowly start dying down, as people leave the pools, beaches, amusement parks, and there is no more fun. There is just the harsh reality that real life will start again soon. For Bradbury’s boy the harsh reality of summer’s end also includes recognizing that his beloved Tally, who has violently drowned, is gone forever. I cannot help but feel that, like Tally (dying in an Illinois lake long ago), other Chicagoans are ending this summer with terrible violence and loss. Not only am I here in Chicago far from home getting back to the grind of school, and the knowing cold weather is coming, but I am watching and hearing the reports that Chicago is seeing summer end with the worse violence in 20 years. But, Bradbury tells you how the boy cannot let Tally go, and how he still loves and misses her when her body appears on the beach all those years later during his honeymoon. The Chicago news, however, only seems to focus on the victims and the violence. I see little attention to the people that are left behind. Unlike Bradbury’s story, which shows the reader the toll the violent death of a loved one takes on those left behind, I have no sense of how the people left behind by the current violence in Chicago feel. Like the end of Bradbury’s story though, with the grown boy walking away from where Tally’s body was found, and you knowing that he still loves her and his marriage will probably not survive, I cannot help but think that this is more than likely what is happening to many of the people that love the victims of Chicago’s current violence. Their whole life has changed from one moment of horrible loss that extinguished the fun of summer. I have felt this kind of feeling.  When I was thirteen my grandfather died unexpectedly from sepsis as a result of malpractice. I did not even get to see him before he died. It still hurts when I think about not being able to say goodbye. And, much like the boy, it hurt me to see his body. My grandfather was always getting up and moving no matter his age or soreness. Seeing him there, cold and still, was horrible. It was just wrong,and it meant he was really dead. I still think about my grandfather every time I accomplish something big, and I have his picture in a locket that I wear. My grandfather and I were best friends. I can really relate to how the boy felt.(Anna Paliga, City of Stories Student)


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