A Literary Essay of My Cousin Clarette by Budge Wilson

“My Cousin Clarette” is an unpredictable adequate good-cogent story written by Budge Wilson, the writer of “Fanfare Book”. My Cousin Clarette presents a life story of two little girls in their 11 age—an end of childhood life-style to become an adult—, they are Victoria and Clarette. As both Victoria and Clarette have their own problems that they try to hide from others, this writing is aimed to read what are behind this story from each session.
As written in the opening session, the set is in 1984 in Toronto, Dundas Station of the Yonge Street Subway. This opening shows a dissimilar life of style of the characters. There are some amazement we could find here. First, we could know that the ‘I’ here is a woman as it is written in “…my arms full of packages and shopping bags.” (Wilson 97) and “Exactly the way I would like to look after a pre-…” (Wilson 97) sentences. Obviously, there is a word “Because without a doubt, without a shred of doubt, she was my cousin Clarette.” (Wilson 97) This sentence told us that the ‘I’ here, the one who was standing while musing the ‘…lady in front of me’’s appearance was 100 % sure that the woman was her cousin, but what make me surprised is why she didn’t approach the woman or even call the woman’s name? The second amazement came to the sentence ‘I’ felt an odd excitement and heavy sadness” (Wilson 98). Actually, the sentence make me wonder. Why she felt happy but sad too? The continued contemplation and the sentences “I felt a familiar irritation…” (Wilson 98) and “…if I could make myself do it.” (Wilson 98), made me franticly wondered about what happened between these women.
All the astonishment feeling of mine answered by Victoria’s memory back when she was in 1954 in Nova Scotia – which was the authors’ birth and education place, “I am back in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, and it is 1954.” (Wilson 98) We could know that Victoria have a respectable memory about Clarette “How could I forget? She had been shot of pure crimson…” (Wilson 99) until when Clarette spent 10 months – “Then the week before, on September 8th…” (Wilson 99) until “On the morning of the thirtieth of June…” (Wilson 107), “The next day, Clarette leaves with my father…” (Wilson 108) –of Victoria’s sufferings months, “I do know that there is an end to what I am suffering.” (Wilson 107)
The next question is why and what makes Victoria suffered by Clarette’s presence? When we read, we know that Clarette spent times in Nova Scotia because of her parent’s divorce, and she has a beautiful attitude. We also know that Victoria is very different compared to Clarette, known by the sentences “She is taller that I am….”, the dolls incident, “I love school, but….”, etc. Clarette is a friendly girl to everyone around her except to Victoria. Her cheerful spirit suddenly gone when she is only with Victoria. Also, she even always bullied Clarette in school. These conditions can be noted as the influence of a broken home family problem. Clarette is envied of Victoria because Victoria has a lovely family which Clarette doesn’t have, etc. As written in DwordDiva (2007),
Compared to children from homes disrupted by death, children from divorced homes have more psychological problems. (Robert E. Emery, Marriage, Divorce and Children’s Adjustment” Sage Publications, 1988)
Clarette sometimes is seen in black (“Her face is as empty as a cave, telling nothing.” (Wilson)) Victoria gave a name of Clarette’s attitude as ON, OFF, ON HOLD. Victoria wake up with an unfamiliar lightness of heart in the next day of thirtieth June, knowing that Clarette will be leaving Nova Scotia. It is for sure 1st July, which is according to historical day, there are a lot of worthy-important thing happened on this day as cited in OnThisDay, such as the “1st vote on Declaration of Independence for Britain's North American colonies”(. And there, Victoria finally got her freedom to be back on the way it was before Clarette’s tenancy (p. 108)
Finally, the feeling of abomination to Clarette suddenly turned out to be a sympathy. Back to the setting of 1984 in Dundas Station of the Younge Street Subway which is according to vivaNext, is known as to ‘The Downtown Rapid Transit- a crowded place, Clarette committed suicide “No one pushed her, either on purpose or accidentally…” (Wilson, 109). As Ramsland says, “Sometimes, public suicide is the result of mental derangement or depression”, we can point out that the reason of Clarette’s suicide can be a depression of living her life.
Unpredictable story isn’t it? From the pleasant characters of Clarette the author wrote that then known as a bullies to Clarette brought a sympathy to a weak character of Clarette who ended her life in a public-suicide.

Works Cited

DWordDiva. The Hidden Effects Of Divorce On Children. 14 January 2007. 24 November 2016. .
OnThisDay.com. Historical Events on July 1. n.d. Website. 24 November 2016. .
Ramsland, Katherine. Psychology Today. 03 May 2014. 24 November 2016. .
vivaNext. Yonge Subway Extension – Finch Station to Richmond Hill Centre. Environmental Project Report. Ontario, 2009. pdf. .
Wilson, Budge. "My Cousin Clarette." My Cousin Clarette and other stories. University of Queensland Press, 1994. 97-109.