Name: Tara Tran
Strength Of Woman
“There is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish” (Michelle Obama). According to Michelle Obama, woman can do everything even though they are in the hardest situations. The protagonist, Mary Beth Latham in the novel Every Last One written by Anna Quindlen is one of the most persuasive evidence of this. Mary Beth Latham’s strength is clearly shown through her actions in the face of hardship. She not only runs her household and cares for her family, but she also is able to deal with her grief after losing three family members and find happiness in a new life.
Firstly, similar to other women around the world, the narrator runs a household and takes care of her family on a daily basis, showing her strength as a woman. It is commonly known that the woman in a family usually has to be the earliest waking up in the morning and so as the protagonist in this novel “This is my life: The alarm goes off at five-thirty with the murmuring of a public-radio announcer, telling me that there has been a coup in Chad, a tornado in Texas” (Quindlen 1). She has to wake up at five-thirty in order to prepare breakfast for the whole family and also to wake her children up to go to school. Getting out of bed at five – thirty when they are deeply sleeping might be challenging for most people but the woman can do this, even every day. This detail illustrates the empowerment of woman and love for her family. It is obvious that the key of motivation for woman to wake up early is mainly her strength in mind and the responsibility of taking care of her family. Basically, doing all the housework and caring about each member is literally not only physically demanding but it also requires a strong mental health in a woman in a family.
Secondly, despite losing three of four members in the family, she still manages to handle and stand up after this grief which clearly shows that she is really a strong woman. Her strength is completely seen when she faces the situation “For a moment I lose all the air in my body, and then I put the phone down on the table and walk out the back door onto the grass. I don’t know how much time passes, but when I step back inside there is no one on the phone” (Quindlen 22). Literally, she must be depressed at this time. The most important thing in her life – family – now has disappeared. She is left with the only one member- Alex. These words are clearly illustrating how hurtful it is when she lost her family. Being a wife losing her husband and a mother losing children must be significantly difficult for her to overcome but just for a while, she starts to rebuild her family and her life. “I tell them I’m looking for a house to rent, and tell them about some of the terrible places I’ve seen, trying to make it all sound amusing, and ordinary” (Quindlen 26). She decides to move into a new house which can help her to forget about that horrible disaster and start a better period of time with her son – Alex. This can not be considered as she had forgotten about her old house and family because these memorable things are stuck in her mind forever. Her decision means that she is brave and strong enough to create another beautiful
life with her only son – Alex. It is true to say that the power inside a woman just shows when she has to deal with a major problem of her life.
Finally, after the hurtful event, she still determined on looking for new joy in a new period of life. Latham’s speech at the end of the novel has stated her attitude toward the future:
I am. Every day I am trying.
I am trying for Alex.
I am trying for Ruby.
I am trying for Max.
I am trying for Glen.
It’s all I know how to do now. This is my life. I am trying (Quindlen 36).
She is not giving up, she is trying for each of them in the future. Now, she has full of determination and courage to move on her life. It might be because she has to be responsible for her son and his life also. She can’t let this disaster to ruin his life as Alex is probably considered to be one of the best motivation for her. Moving on after the grief is not easy for people, especially woman but in this case, Latham also has a belief in the future fulfilled of happiness which significantly demonstrates her strength in mind and in her thoughts. The anaphora “I am trying” once again emphasizes and proves an unbelievable power inside her. Literally, the narrator’s belief and optimistic about the future has shown how strong is she.
In conclusion, in the novel Every Last One written by Anna Quindlen, Mary Beth Latham is definitely a strong and unyielding woman throughout her reactions to many difficulties in her life. The protagonist’s strength is proved clearly when she looks after her family member, what she does to overcome the terrible disaster and how she moves on finding new cheerfulness for herself and family. As women are strong to tackle many issues in their life but it is believed that the society should still appreciate and help them to solve these problems.
Work cited page
Quindlen, Anna. Every Last One, last-one-read-online
Inspiring Tips, “50 Inspirational Quotes about Women’s Strength and Empowerment”.


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