TeaLeaf Prophecies Essay Research Paper TeaLeaf PropheciesLife

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Tea-Leaf Prophecies Essay, Research Paper Tea-Leaf Prophecies Life is a journey one embarks on without any knowledge of where it is going to lead or what might be encountered on the path. With this journey comes a mindset, the traveler often has an idea where they want the path to lead but do they really have any control over it? Harriet Mahoney traveled in a path that looked to be a straight line, but to her excitement and amazement, ended up have many sharp turns and gradual curves. Isabel’s Bed, a novel by Elinor Lipman, tells of her on the path of life and the discoveries about herself and the world she makes on the way. Harriet Mahoney has spent her “thirties engaged to a spoiled child” (3) and attempting to become a writer. When her boyfriend and owner of a bagel

chain, Kenny, breaks up with her, she is forced to move out of her apartment into a new home and a new life. After answering an ad in the New York Review of Books for room and board in exchange for writing, she whisks herself off to Cape to fulfill her dreams. Harriet is hired to write The Isabel Krug Story, based on her new housemate’s scandalous tabloid past centered around Isabel and a fatal affair. While researching the details, Isabel and Harriet become like sisters – fighting occasionally, but continually inspiring each other. When the book is finally ready to be written, Nan, the murderous wife of Isabel’s lover, is released from the insane asylum. Once she signs on to write her side of the story, much against Isabel’s will, the book takes on several new twists

leaving Harriet to pursue a new life of love and happiness. All her life, Harriet has been described as dependable and as Isabel put it when she hired her, “normal” (3). Harriet had the normal dreams of becoming someone she wasn’t, the normal dreams of having someone who loved her unconditionally, and the normal dreams of having a life that was full of excitement and thrills. Harriet’s life though, was none of these. When her “bald and malcontent boyfriend” of twelve years broke up with her, her life finally took a turn for the better. While living with Kenny, she was striving to become a novelist. She had taken all the normal steps in the process of writing but those steps were the exact things that were stopping her. She joined a writing group to get constructive

criticism and while the group was supportive of her writing, they always told her it lacked something. What it usually lacked was something that terrified her, sex. I wrote “pretty parlor skits about manners and used actions which suggested rather delineated sexual activities” (64). The reason she was unable to do that was because sex was what would eventually lock her into a lifelong relationship with Kenny. He had told her that the only way he would ever marry her was if she conceived his child or he felt like it. Sex was the only way to produce his child and since she always knew deep down that their relationship was out of comfort rather than love, a child would trap them both. This fear of entrapment is seen later in the book when Harriet is worried about cooking. “I

don’t mind cooking, but what if I want to sleep late or go out for dinner?” (75). Another reason she cannot write about sex is that she is not comfortable with herself. Harriet comes off immediately as a very self-conscious person. At the first glance from Isabel, her gray hair goes from an extension of “character and substance” (13) to just gray hair. She feels frumpy in her mail order clothing and can only think about what she should be wearing to make Isabel happy with her. Her whole life has revolved around making other people happy. She became her mother’s confidant when her parents got a divorce to ensure her mother’s love. She changed her writing in order to make her writing group happy with her and she did whatever Kenny wanted so that she could stay in her