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Approximations

This article is about the story, “Approximations” Pages 115, 117, 127 by Mona Simpson

Everything for Melinda is an approximation. An example of that is her family. Jerry is an approximation of a real dad for her. She starts to do things with Jerry because she realizes he is the best thing she can get as a dad. She decides to try and act like she is her dad. “I’ll try” (Simpson 127). She learns that nothing is perfect, and you have to learn to cope with that.

She starts doing stuff with Jerry because her she realizes her dad can’t be a good dad to her and be a father, but Jerry can. Melinda always has an approximation of a family. “In my family, there were always two people” (Simpson 114). First it was her mom and her dad. “First, my mother and father. Carol and John” (Simpson 114). Then it was her and her mother. “He’s gone” (Simpson 115). Next it was Carol and John, again. “My mother looked back at me, over her shoulder, while unzipped her dress. Finally, she closed the door.” (Simpson 119). Then it was Carol and Jerry. “She and Jerry, the ice skating pro, got married” (Simpson 120). Melinda really wanted to have a real family with her, her mom and dad.

But, like everything else in the story, she only got an approximation. Even the title is Approximations. But instead of her dad, she gets Jerry. Jerry is the approximation of her dad. She realizes that Jerry is the best she can get to a father, and also realizes her dad can not be a father to and for her, so she starts doing things with Jerry.

Melinda feels she loves her father blindly when he touches her hair because she had a connection with him that couldn’t be explained. Melinda is just a little 7 year- old girl and this is her first time ever meeting her father. Melinda has grown up just living with her mother and wanted to have the love and affection from two parents, because she has only had the approximation of one parent instead of both. Melinda has been asking and wondering about her father. She wants him as a father and the time she finally sees him she lets him in her heart and loves him blindly. Melinda feels affection towards her father because she had to deal with only having one parent in her life. The feeling of finally having both parents made her happy and made her love him blindly. The feeling was darkening over everything.

“The feeling darkening over everything, then it passed” (Simpson 117). This is an example of the theme that good things don’t last. Having Melinda's father touching her hair and acting like a father was giving her the feeling there was a connection between them but then reality caught up on her and made her realize it all wasn’t true. This shows characterization in Melinda that she is open to her heart and can love anyone. This happened with Jerry at the end of the book too when she started to love him as a father. Melinda tried to make herself believe that everything would be happy ending and not an approximation when it wasn’t. Melinda's family has always been an approximation because all she has had was her mom but this was fixing the answer to the problem so she tried to believe it was true.

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