A Domestic Dilemma
Carson McCullers takes the reader on a journey into the lives of a family plagued by alcoholism in "A Domestic Dilemma". The realism of the story is astounding, as most people will often find themselves torn when facing difficult family decisions. The Meadows? family is torn by both compassion and suffering, and Martin Meadows is faced with one of the most difficult decisions of his life. In A Domestic Dilemma, the author conveys the idea that individuals facing difficult decisions in marital relationships must act in the best interest of one?s self.
The conflicts in the story surround Martin and Emily?s marital relationship. It is clear that their marriage is deteriorating because of Emily?s alcoholism. Emily often attempts to hide her drinking from her husband and when Martin inquires about his wife?s earlier drinking, she responds "Because I drink a couple of sherries in the afternoon you?re trying to make me out a drunkard." in a sharp, unforgiving tone. Martin becomes frustrated knowing that he is not able to trust his own wife with any responsibilities around the house because of her intoxication, "If you could only realize how sick I am - how bad it is for all of us." He pleads with Emily and tries to calm her often, but underneath his calm and passive mask Martin?s fear and worry for his children causes him to despise Emily?s behavior. "His youth was being frittered away by a drunkard?s waste, his very manhood subtly undermined." Two events that worried Martin the most were when Emily was making cinnamon toast for the children, she accidentally used cayenne instead of cinnamon. Their son, Andy, took a bite of the toast and cried because it burned his mouth. The other mistake that Emily made was while bathing her baby, she dropped Marianne and cut the child?s fragile head on a table. Because of Emily?s ignorance and drinking her baby daughter could have died or been seriously injured. Martin Meadows also faces another conflict. His heart is wrenched in turmoil as he struggles with the decisions that may force him to choose between his love for his children and his love for his wife. The devotion that Martin feels towards his children is evident throughout "A domestic Dilemma". He views his children?s faces as "radiant as flower petals, equally loved." Also illustrating his love for his children, Martin "kissed the tiny hand that lay palm upward." Although Martin and Emily?s marriage is covered in a heavy blanket of stress, it is obvious that Martin still loves his wife. "As Martin watched the tranquil slumber of his wife the ghost of the old anger vanished." He knows that his emotional and physical desire for Emily may be the very element that destroys his children?s lives. Martin is searching for a solution to his problems that will keep all his loved ones safe.
Martin Meadows is an ideal husband. He works hard in his office and his home. Martin is amazingly efficient, tending to the garden, decorating for Christmas, cooking for his children, and pulling their lose teeth. He longs for the days back in Alabama when his family was happy and alcohol was not a part of their lives. From the start of the story Martin is weary from the disappointment he has encountered in the changes seen in his wife. During Domestic Dilemma Martin begins to realize that his efforts are no use, and his wife?s behavior is not going to change before something horrible happens to one of his children. Her drunken outbursts and manipulative games confuse the children at their young ages, and Martin fears that his children will not forget these horrible incidents and will grow up emotionally strained by their mother?s problem.
Emily?s move to New York tore her life apart. Once a happy housewife in Alabama, When her family moved to New York for her husband?s company, Emily become lonely and depressed. Emily misses the warmth of a small southern town where she was surrounded by friends and family. Alcohol became Emily?s escape from her boredom and loneliness. She drinks during the day when Martin is at his office, and tries to conceal it from him when he