What’s in a name? The name given by your parents (what you inherit: the common name Christine, shared by other women) and the name you create and give yourself (Lady Bird, shared by no one)
Reimagining yourself, creating a different origin and identity: illusion or empowering narrative?
(The reader of Flannery O’Connor’s fiction revisits “Good Country People” and its story of Joy/Ulga’s own journey at self-discovery, with the occasional blindness, self-delusion, and pride: lessons to be learned, as painful as they might be, as necessary as they are sometimes… and suggested new departures… beyond what the text narrates but evokes in some off-stage space, tragic and theatrical… or not)
Teenage life, with its ups and downs, misunderstandings and understandings.
Communities, imagined or real.
Being rejected or accepted. Rejecting and accepting.
The ‘true’ friends as opposed to the ‘mock’ friends who use you
Kyle’s carelessness as opposed to Danny’s kindness.
The rites and rituals of passage, prom or no prom.
Love given, taken back, and recovered,
Love and attention: “maybe the same thing”, as the nun indicates.
Hope and aspirations
The gift of compassion
Welcoming the Other in who he is/as he is:
The gay boyfriend turned foe, and friend again.
Theater and dance as ways to try out other identities, build self-confidence, And introduce creativity in one’s life.
Dreams of material success,
The intricacies of femininity,
The proper dresses, cheap or not,
The performance(s) for oneself and others.
Parental love, understood or not
Parental love, received or not.
The way others see your parents, appreciate and love them. Praise them. See in them things you have not (yet) seen.
The sense of rejection that the mother feels with her daughter’s departure
Yet the child’s departure is no comment on what a mother has given the child, just a normal aspiration.
For better or for worse. There is no telling. Just the dynamic of life, the unpredictable work of time and space.
The mother: as a family figure, and as a professional, counseling the priest.
Both catering to the needs of others in need of love and trust and hope.
The sense of shame attached to poverty
The silent battle with depression (the father, the priest), loving despite one’s suffering
Or because of it.
Moving to the big city
Yet remembering home: Sacramento, and its beautiful sights.
The pride of driving around, feeling empowered by the intimate knowledge of the landscape combined with the newly-acquired knowledge of driving the car.
The encounter at the party as wake up call from the world of rural (childhood/teenage) fantasies to urban (college life/adult) reality.
Getting drunk: tasting pleasure combined with danger
The hospital scene: facing the little boy who has lost an eye. Like him, she is partly blind. But unlike him, she can make use of her eye(s) if she wants to.
The epistolary quality of the phone call, part of an on-going exchange.
An answer left in the air,
Like so many of our conversations and attempts to reach out.
Messages left unanswered, out of indifference, boredom or negligence.
Will the “Lady” find her Prince? Charming or not…
Will the “Bird” take her flight?