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Growing Up in a Broken Family: “Found Objects” by Jennifer Egan Essay

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Updated: Mar 15th, 2022

Introduction

Found Objects is a short story that addresses the dangers of growing up in a broken family. The short story by Jennifer Egan addresses the struggles that a young girl named Sasha undergoes while trying to come to terms with the abandonment of her father. In order to fill the emptiness in her heart, Sasha results to stealing items that she does not intend to use at any time in her life.

Afraid that the situation is getting out of control, she consults a therapist whom she hopes will help her deal with the root cause of her behavior. In Jennifer Egan’s story, the protagonist has a void in her heart, which she tries to fill by stealing anything that falls on her path. (Egan 2)

There is a clear pointer to the protagonists’ kleptomaniac behavior at the opening of the story. In the opening statement, the author tells us “it began the usual way” meaning there was a certain pattern that Sasha followed in all the things she stole. The first incidence takes place at the Lassimo Hotel where Sasha notices a bag lying on the floor of an occupied toilet cubicle.

Just like in every other instance, Sasha is provoked by the blind trust that the owner of this bag has on the inhabitants of New York. According to Sasha, this was tantamount to tempting someone to steal the wallet. Indeed, stealing for Sasha is a way of proving to the world that she is tough and this explains she does not steal in stores. By stealing from people, she is unconsciously sending a message to her father that she is tough and she can survive without him.

The genesis of Sasha’s behavior is traceable to the moment her father left when she was six years old. With the progression of the story, it emerges that Sasha stores everything that she steals separate from her private life. Through the ensuing discussion with Coz, it is clear that Sasha has lost all trust in people and she does not expect them to trust her.

The mistrust is engraved deep in her heart such that she does not even trust Coz who is the only person capable of helping her. On the other hand, Sasha seemed to have loved her father so much such that she is still hoping for a reunion many years after he has left.

The fact that Sasha is looking for his father’s approval and love is seen when she steals a note containing an inspirational message from Alex. The note with the words “I Believe in You” appears to Sasha as a personal message from her father who had abandoned her. Unlike all the other things that she has stolen, Sasha knows she has to keep this note since the words are a replica of what she has been craving to hear. This clearly shows that the genesis of Sasha’s behavior is linked to her missing father.

Conclusion

Found Objects is a short story addressing the struggles of a young woman named Sasha. In the story, the leaving of Sasha’s father has made her to mistrust all the people she is dealing with.

Because of this mistrust, Sasha is moved to steal everything that is not well guarded. Concerned with the trouble that this behavior might cause her in the future, she seeks the services of a therapist to help her realign her mind to leave the things she finds misplaced instead of stealing them. Although the reasons for Sasha’s kleptomaniac behavior are not made palpable, there is no doubt that all her problems are linked to the leaving of her father.

Works Cited

Egan, Jennifer. Found Objects, 2007. New Yorker Fiction, 1-9. Print.

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"Growing Up in a Broken Family: "Found Objects" by Jennifer Egan." IvyPanda, 15 Mar. 2022, ivypanda.com/essays/found-objects-2/.

1. IvyPanda. "Growing Up in a Broken Family: "Found Objects" by Jennifer Egan." March 15, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/found-objects-2/.


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IvyPanda. "Growing Up in a Broken Family: "Found Objects" by Jennifer Egan." March 15, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/found-objects-2/.

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IvyPanda. 2022. "Growing Up in a Broken Family: "Found Objects" by Jennifer Egan." March 15, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/found-objects-2/.

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IvyPanda. (2022) 'Growing Up in a Broken Family: "Found Objects" by Jennifer Egan'. 15 March.

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