Home is a coming of age story. However, it works kind of backwards. It takes a narrator who feels she’s an adult and shows her recognizing that she still has so far to go. One of the ways that we see this is in the narrators struggle to find her new place in an old and familiar setting. Scenes from the past flit through the story and the narrator tries to come to terms with what happened when she was younger. She may be twenty three and not want to go home–giving off the air that she feels she is adult enough not to–but we see that her relationship with her mother shows her as still being a child.
We will all stay the children to our parents no matter how old we get, they will always have that pull over us, but she lives in the house like I imagine she would have in high school. She watches television with her mother, brings her magazines, and the daughter describes her mother in the beginning of the story and while it may be trying to portray a little annoyance, to me it sounds almost endearing. They get in fights where the mother apologizes indirectly by showing she is upset, and the daughter tries to make it up to her by helping her. My mom and I do that same dance every single time we have a disagreement. That is my favorite scene in the entire story because I think it shows their relationship perfectly, and it’s just a beautiful moment:
“I realize I’m shouting. And shaking. What is happening to me?
My mother stares.
We’ll not discuss it, she says…
Sweetheart? my mother calls from the bathroom. Could you bring me a towel?
Her voice is quavering slightly. She is sorry. But I never know what part of it she is sorry about…I put the towel around her shoulders and my eyes smart…
Not too pretty is it, she says. He took out too much whe he removed that lump–
Mom, it doesn’t look so bad…But you should have sued the bastard, I tell her. He didn’t give a shit about your body…
Sweetheart, she says. I know your beliefs are different than mine. But have patience with me. You’ll just be here are few more months. And I’ll always stand behind you. We’ll get along…She is sofragile, standing there, naked, with her small shoulders. Suddenly I am horribly firghtened.
Sure, I say, I know we will.”
This is a long, very chopped up passage, I know. But it gets me every time. She hardly has to describe any of it really and we know they are trying to come to a reconciliation, and the mother lets the daughter know that even though she’s growing up, she will still be the backbone that a mother always provides. The narrator even seems to feel the same protectiveness over her mother that her mother has over her–she shows this when she talks about suing the doctor. The mothers support only makes the narrator feel more vulnerable, and act rashly and more childlike. She searches for comfort in sleeping with an ex, and brings him home with her. I can imagine her thinking that by doing whatever she wants she’s being an adult, but it was rash, and if she had thought about being responsible at all she wouldn’t have done it. Her mother tries to stand behind her in the end, but is torn between her disapproval and her attempt to support. They are both lost in the daughter’s transition from a child to an adult.