Struggles In Merna Summers's The Skating Party

956 Words 4 Pages
Struggles are a necessary part of life. Without them we would accomplish nothing. Merna Summers’ short story “The Skating Party” revolves around Nathan Singleton, and the story of a night in the past, told through the eyes of his niece Maida. At eleven years old she is told by her mother that Nathan’s fiancée Eunice and her sister Delia had fallen through the ice of the lake one November night. Delia was the only one of the two to survive the accident and when asked by Maida why he chose to save her instead of Eunice she explains that it was too dark and “he couldn’t see their faces”. Later at fifteen, Maida is told the story once again, but this time through Nathan’s perspective. He explains that he had loved Delia initially, but settled for her sister as Delia was already married. The rest of the details remain identical to those of her mother's version up to him crawling on the ice to rescue the sisters. Nathan was not able to see the girl’s faces, however he was able to recognize their hands. This split second decision continued to plague him with guilt years later. In Merna Summers’ “The Skating Party” demonstrates how individuals deal with hardships through Nathan’s dilemma between who he loves, his choice between occupations, and clearing the stone man.

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The dilemmas faced by Nathan Singleton were all examples of an avoidance/avoidance conflict, with neither options being desirable. His strategy when dealing with them was to settle for one in order to please others. This method of coping left him dissatisfied and during the events of the skating party we see he still would have chosen Delia if given the chance. Although his decision to put the interests of others over himself may have given favourable short term results he still regretted those decisions. Overall the main example of how individuals cope with struggles presented throughout the story is settling in order to please

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