Essay Example on The Whore’s Child by Richard Russo is the Story









The Whore’s Child by Richard Russo is the story of a 90 year old nun told through a college Advanced Fiction workshop taught by the narrator The nun Sister Ursula writes a memoir of her childhood growing up at the mercy of nuns who would never forget her title as a whore s child Ursula s mother was a prostitute and her father did not have a job So they sent her to a Belgian convent school to receive a proper education At the convent she is treated very poorly and constantly ridiculed for her parent s circumstances After Ursula s mother dies and her father disappears from her life she starts the process of becoming a nun at the convent Ursula eventually becomes a nun and lives her life at the service of God and her fellow sisters During the college writing workshop Ursula writes the story of her childhood Towards the end of the course there is a workshop to talk about Ursula s memoir and one student brings up the idea that Ursula s father was her mother s pimp She struggles with this thought but in the end Ursula realizes that her classmate could be right leaving her to truly be the whore s child The Whore s Child by Richard Russo shows that in order to allow oneself to let down a wall you have to be willing to hear the words you do not want to hear in the case of Sister Ursula this truth is that her nickname the whore s child is true I found it extremely clever for Russo to give Ursula and the book the same title 

This title played an extremely influential role in Ursula s life and truly changed the way other people in her life perceived her Ever since she was young Ursula was treated differently because of her situation and circumstance The people at the convent never gave Ursula a chance and would make fun of her for everything she did the other children immediately perceived in her a suitable object for their cruelest derision she grew accustomed to being referred to as the whore s child Russo 7 When I read this part of the story I became overcome with emotion and developed an automatic hatred for the other girls at the convent I can truly not imagine being in Ursula s place all alone with no one to confide in This title that Ursula was given is one that will stick with her for her whole life and always be a constant reminder of her childhood I can only imagine how hard it was for Ursula to deal with these girls and the scarring nickname the whore s child In the present time of the story Ursula still does not belong The helplessness of the teacher to deal with his student who is unauthorized and not enrolled in the course echoes her situation as a child The professor explains that Ursula s persistence and persuasive body language buys her a seat in the class Sister Ursula herself was nearly as big as a linebacker yet more persuasive than this was her body language which suggested that once settled she was not used to moving And since she was clearly settled I let her stay Russo 6 By allowing Sister Ursula to stay in the course her past wounds and feeling of not fitting in start to disintegrate I was very proud of both Ursula and the professor for staying in the class With Ursula s past life experiences I did not expect her to be as strong willed and persistent as she was in this instance 

I applaud her for standing up for herself and not giving up In addition I was very proud of the professor for giving Ursula just what she needed a chance to fit in and excel in a educational setting Throughout the story I found myself wanting to know what happens next in Ursula s memoir The ending was extremely powerful with the discovery in the workshop and to be honest quite unexpected The symbolism in the end of the story was the most moving part of the whole story The last line Ah but the flames she said her old eyes bright with a young woman s fire They reached almost to heaven Russo 21 The intense ending of Ursula s past left me with much to reflect on It was a perfect way in my opinion to end both the memoir as well as the writing workshop It is very symbolic and extremely well written In some ways The Whore s Child is very relevant in society today I feel that in my generation people are too scared to stick up and be an advocate for themselves Sister Ursula goes through many challenges and obstacles in her life Through all of these experience she comes out stronger and more resilient than before I feel that many people today if they acted like Ursula did they would live happier healthier lives At the end of the day Sister Ursula finally received what she had been searching for her whole life closure and the truth Ursula only received these two things because of the way she has lived her life and dealt with difficulties that were thrown her way All in all I found Russo s short story

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