Jewel By Brett Lott Essay, Research Paper
A change in the way a person lives their life can greatly affect others. In Jewel, by Bret Lott Jewel s determination to help Brenda Kay negatively impacts her relationships with others. The main character Jewel has a sixth child Brenda Kay, who is mentally retarded. Through her every day struggles to raise this child on her own her priorities change and have an impact on others. Jewel is a dedicated mother and would do anything for her children but because of her new burden her relationships with others become harder to hold on to. Jewel s relationship with Cathedral and her own daughters suffer as a result.
Jewel became blinded by her obsession with Brenda Kay s progress and turned away an important friend. Before having Brenda Kay, Jewel and Cathedral had a great relationship. Cathedral, a black woman whose husband and sons worked for Jewel s husband, had delivered all of Jewel s children and helped her get back on her feet after the births. She also was especially helpful after Brenda Kay s birth and came and took care of the other children during the day. Yet once Jewel found out what was wrong with Brenda Kay everything changed. Taking care of Brenda Kay became Jewel s priority in life and her development was her biggest concern. One day when Cathedral was watching Brenda Kay, Brenda Kay got a hold of lighter fluid by the fire and burnt her legs. This changed everything and destroyed Jewel s relationship with Cathedral. Cathedral d been the one to blame, because blame was what I was after, blame the only thing I had the right to here. Jewel resented Cathedral for setting back her daughter s progress and consequently placed that before everything Cathedral had ever done for her. Through her dedication to Brenda Kay, Jewel pushes away other people who are important to her.
Jewel had three daughters but it wasn t evident by the way she divided her attention, giving most of it to Brenda Kay. Before Brenda Kay was born Jewel would do special things for her two other daughters, Billie Jean and Annie. One Christmas she bought Billie Jean red lifesavers to use as lipstick and a compact, little things only a mother would know a daughter needed. As for Annie before Brenda Kay, Annie was the baby of the family and was closely looked after by Jewel. Yet Annie knew even before Brenda Kay was born that she wasn t going to be as important to her mom anymore. She [Annie] was learning on her own, me thankful for that, though sorrowed at it too. Everyday I felt there d been years lost to my children growing up Jewel knew that she wasn t as good of a mother to Annie and that as her daughters got older, she became more preoccupied with Brenda Kay. Billie Jean became more independent and got married to Gow Cross in order to stay in Mississippi and not move to California, a move that was mainly for the benefit of Brenda Kay. Not too many years later, Billie Jean ended up getting a divorce and raising two children alone. Only then after it was too late did Jewel realize how much she had neglected her daughter and not paid enough attention to see who the man Billie Jean married really was. Her other daughter, Annie, ended up marrying a highway patrolman who was ten years older than her. Annie s decision reflects that she needed someone to look out for her and be almost a parent like figure to make up for the years of her growing up on her own. Both daughters lost out on their mother-daughter bond and motherly support as a result of Jewel s dedication to Brenda Kay.
Determination and dedication were two strengths that Jewel possessed but when they became the main focus of only her relationship with Brenda Kay, other relationships deteriorated. She turned away Cathedral and the endless help that she had given Jewel. She ignored the needs of her other two daughters Billie Jean and Annie. Her strong bond with Brenda Kay had weakened her other bonds with her daughters and Cathedral. As a result not only did they experience difficulties in their relationships with Jewel but also in their own lives.