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Throughout the short story “Mojave Rats,” I felt vibes of discontentment. The main protagonist, Monica, grapples with many issues; ranging from caring for her family in a new and unsatisfactory place to her conflicted feelings toward her current life and her eldest daughter. She is struggling with the path her life has taken.

No longer the wife of a rich and sophisticated but abusive husband, she battles with who she was and what she’s lost. She had status and material possessions–a life she dreamt for herself, when with him. Without him, she is no longer abused and belittled. She is a woman with two children, a love for literature, no degree and a Ph.D. earning husband. Seems satisfactory, right? To Monica, she is struggling as she was before her ex-husband. She has nothing to show for her dedication and work. She loves her children and adores her husband, but this earns her no status, no financial security. While her husband is attempting to earn his degree, funding has dried up and progress is hard to come by. She is miserable and feels stuck. Adding to this is her contention with her eldest daughter. Within her family unit, there is the baby, Elliot and herself as well as her eldest daughter Cordelia. Sharp with her wit and tongue, as well as very observant, Cordelia strains the comfortability Monica has with herself. As the last lingering piece of a puzzle, Monica has already rid herself of, Cordelia is a constant reminder of the darker days in her life. She does not fit well in her new puzzle.

How do you raise your child knowing you will become more distant and resentful towards each other? How do you become satisfied with a life you never wanted to live? Are you selfish? Are you mean? Are you projecting complex feelings and expectations onto others– writing their fates before they can begin to live? Monica asks herself these questions and doesn’t have an answer. She is conflicted and that confliction is disconcerting and resonant to the reader.


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