Aging With Pie Essay

1390 words - 6 pages

“The Pie of the Month,” by Jean Thompson focuses on an older woman, Mrs. Colley, and her life in Hi Ho, Ohio. She is a member of a pie of the month club, where each member has a particular month where they bake a pie of a certain flavor. Although this story focuses on a pie club, it is obvious that Mrs. Colley is going through a time where her surroundings are changing and she does not quite know what the world is coming to. Throughout the story the narrator mentions Mrs. Colley’s “rainbow pills,” which can be interpreted as an anti-depressant in order to feel happy like how she was before her husband passed from a heart attack. Despite the inability to determine what the time period is of ...view middle of the document...

Being able to acknowledge that you had a good life is subsequent to having a personal sense of both accomplishment and inner strength. Mrs. Colley seems to have had self-growth over the course of the short story, because although she was engaged in life by her pie of the month club that allowed her to obtain all four subthemes, by the end of the story she was realizing that she could open her eyes to the Mexicans and diverse community and possibly “recruit” them for her club. In the beginning of the short story, the narrator mentioned how the towns’ Mexicans would keep to themselves and Mrs. Colley did not plan on changing anything. However, by the end she was bringing pies over to the local Catholic Church. If one is unable to review their life and label it successful, they can fall into the despair portion of Erikson’s integrity vs. despair.
As well as self-growth, self-acceptance is also very crucial for successful aging. Self-acceptance is seen to be the acts of not dwelling on what you could have been, what you could have done, what you did not do, and things that one is unable to currently do (Reichstadt, 2010). This can as well lead to despair instead of integrity, primarily because without self-acceptance one is spiraling into the thought that they did not live a good life and therefore cannot go on with their life thinking they could have done everything differently. Mrs. Colley achieves self-acceptance through her vivid dreams where she sees her deceased husband, or frozen sperm for supper as what will be discussed further.
Erikson’s (1964) eighth stage of psychological development occurs towards the end of life where a person is finally looking back at everything they have done and deciding whether or not they lived a successful life. A person can either feel as if they have a sense of fulfillment from what they have done or a sense of regret and despair from what they had not accomplished. If a person feels as if they did live a good life and was able to accomplish much of what they had hoped for, they will feel a sense of integrity which in turn allows them to attain wisdom. Mrs. Colley can be seen as reaching the integrity aspect of this stage when she states that she is thankful for and loves all the small things around her. Despite the obstacles that she had suffered and went through, she would not look back at her life and be bitter miserable.
Mrs. Colley is initially unable to cope with the changing times of her community and country. The United States is in yet another war, a large population of Mexicans is moving to town for factory work, she fears that her son wants to freeze his sperm as he goes to fight in the war, and she has to live a life without her husband. In order to emphasize her fears and adversities she must cope with, Thompson writes,
“That night she felt...

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