The Imitation of the Rose

Posted: November 27th, 2013

The Imitation of the Rose

            In her response, Lindsey Miller points out that her appreciation of ‘The Imitation of the Rose’ is because she too has suffered from depression and anxiety, as have some of her family members. In addition, her work experience in the psychiatric ward has exposed her to the effects of depression and other mental disorders. The author, however, fails to realize that while the roses were indeed beautiful, Laura was not reluctant to give them away due to their beauty, but rather due to what they represented. The roses were in fact Laura’s last attempt at preservation of perfection. Indeed, Laura suffers from what appears to be Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, characterized by extreme perfectionism and anxiety. The author’s claim that there is debate as to whether mental illnesses exist is unfounded and requires to be supported by evidence. In addition, some mental disorders such as depression do not show up in a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) test as claimed by the author. She needed to have been more specific on what mental illness she was referring too. Finally, the author seems to focus too much on her opinion and experience with minimal reference to the story in question, in turn affecting the credibility of her response.

Yvette Joya’s response to ‘The Imitation of the Rose’ explores the protagonist’s mental illness, her relationship with the roses and her husband’s attitude towards her. The author is able to gather that Laura is suffering from a mental disorder or illness characterized by extreme perfectionism. In addition, the author makes adequate reference to the story, giving her response credibility. From it, one can learn that Laura is not only sick, is obsessed with roses, but is also experiencing problems with her husband. However, in her description of Laura’s giving away of the roses, the author fails to address the reluctance with which the act happened. This makes it seem as though giving away the roses was an easy thing to do for Laura, when in fact, the decision as to whether to give them away was a tough one. In her response, the author admits her lack of understanding of the last scene, in which Laura keeps repeating the words, “It came back.” These words are in fact Laura’s way of saying that her struggle, her illness, that which she had struggled so much with and that which she thought she had conquered, was back. The author does however guess that that was what Laura meant, indicating that she understood the story.

Finally, George Gultz’s response to the story seems to indicate that he failed grasp the concept of the story. First, the author fails to address the issue of Laura’s mental disorder, even though he does mention that Laura had been away from home for some time. In addition, the author’s description of Laura’s problem being due to a struggle with positive and negative outcomes of whatever she does or does not do is confusing and erroneous. Laura’s struggle is actually due to her belief that things should be perfect, and due to her belief that perfection – which she terms as goodness – is wrong. The author also fails to understand Laura’s reluctance to give away the roses, observed in his erroneous description of Laura’s reasoning. In addition, the author makes it sound as though the roses disappeared without Laura’s knowledge, even though it was she who gave them away herself. The allusion to a rose the author makes regarding Armando’s examination of his wife is also problematic because while a rose is viewed in terms of perfection, Laura’s husband does not view her that way. The author of the response would find it helpful to go over the story an additional time in order for him to understand its underlying theme.

The roses in the story are significant because they represent Laura’s mental disorder. Laura appears to be suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, whose main characteristic is perfectionism. The roses represent this unattainable perfectionism to Laura, who admires them and wishes she could have them forever. However, she seems to know that perfectionism is an attempt at futility because she gives away the roses, albeit reluctantly.

The husband is so cautious at the end because he realizes that Laura’s mental disorder, which he thought had been cured by her recent time away, is still very much a part of her. He appreciates the fact that Laura has tried to overcome her illness even though she has failed to. This makes him cautious in how he views her and interacts with her because he knows it is not her fault.

The moral of ‘The Imitation of the Rose’ for people who are suffering from a mental illness is that they should first accept it as part of who they are, take the right steps in addressing it, and be patient with themselves. Laura tried too hard to forget that she did not suffer from the illness even though it was a part of her. Instead, she should have accepted it and addressed it using proper means, instead of pretending it does not exist.

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