Having admittedly finished this story after the class discussion, I had a question prepared: would the “magical realism” of Aunt Bernie’s resurrection mesh with the rest of the story? Hearing classmates talk about it, I thought such bizarre occurrences might completely take you out of the story, or force you to no longer take it seriously.
However, Bernie functions at this point as a seer. Typically in classic texts and mythologies, the seer is blind. Well, here that same idea is given a little post-modern and ghetto update. It’s not just her eyes that don’t work; she’s falling completely apart, fragmenting. I also think her deteriorating physicality lends believability to her speech. Somehow, a prim and proper Aunt Bernie would not be able to espouse the F word or give advice for greater success in the male stripping industry.
Speaking of Resurrection, too, the story’s narrator does make the connection with Jesus, although there are important differences. Jesus had wounds but was not falling apart; in fact, he possessed a glorified body. Likewise, Jesus never died again, while Aunt Bernice succumbs to death a 2nd time. However, they may share one thing: anger. I like that Jesus is included among the ‘angry dead’ that might exist in larger numbers than anyone cares to reveal. I’m trying to picture an irate Jesus just giving it to his disciples for denying him.
An unexpected Jesus.
Is that what it takes to fix problems like the poverty cycle? An unexpected Jesus? Perhaps Aunt Bernie is ours.