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The First Seven Years
Growing and learning is a part of life that no one is exempt from. This fact influences
everyone, whether it be a young child learning to share or an old man learning to let go.
Feld, in The First Seven Years, finds that he has to let go of several of his own issues to
allow his daughter to undergo her own growth and learning.
Feld is the typical father, he wants only the best for his daughter. Feld wants the
best education, the best man, the perfect life. He believes that ,as a farther, he can make
her life perfect simply by telling her the necessities of life. However, after several
incidences Feld understands that he must learn to let go. He discovers that he must let go
of sending her to college, "He had begged her to go.." he had to let go of the fact that
Miriam would not marry the perfect man. "Let her marry an educated man and live a
better life." In the end Feld learned that he could not alter his daughters future in anyway.
The only thing he could do is to keep his silence. "Then he realized that what he had
called ugly was not Sobel, but Miriam\'s life if she married him." When Feld explains to the
readers that Miriam is always reminded him that she wants freedom, he is revealing to the
reader that he is growing and beginning to understand that he has to let go so, Miriam is
free to live her life, and make her own mistakes.
Although, being able to let go is a small part of the growth that can proceed. Feld
also comes to an understanding, he comes to peace with what he has no control over.
"...all his dreams for her- why he had slaved and destroyed his heart with anxiety and
labor- all these dreams of a better life were dead." Everyone has their own way of dealing
with the "undesirable" moments of life, and Feld, in the end, was at peace with the idea
that someday his daughter would marry a refuge shoemaker. "He felt for his daughter a
strange gripping sorrow, as if she were already Sobel\'s bride..." With Feld saying this he is
granting himself a certain peace and understanding for the situation. "\'Don\'t ask her for
two years more, till she is twenty-one; then you can talk to her.\'" Feld realizes there is
nothing he can do to change what is going to happen. He truly learns to understand.
Equally important, if not more important, is what Feld discovers in the end. He
has actually learned a lesson that he has been missing his whole life and had never even
noticed it was missing. Feld realized that he could not live his dreams through the life of
his only child. There are various places in the story in which Feld reveals the true meaning
behind his constant pushing for Miriam to have a better life, he is not satisfied with
himself. "Neither the shifting white blur outside nor the sudden deep remembrance of the
snowy Polish village were he had wasted his youth could turn his thoughts from Max, the
college boy..." Simply by Feld making this statement the reader is pulled into his mind to
see that he has regrets about not attending college, or having the money to do so. Feld
pushes his dreams to Miraim, and the life he wishes for he is really the life he never had
but always wanted. "..and had in her life no more than her mother had had." Again, Feld
is showing us the disappointment he has in his own life, but learning from it ever so
slowly. Feld was learning that his dreams belong to him, and that Miriam and Sobel have
their own dreams.
As a result of all Feld has experienced he has grown and understood a small
portion of his life. He had learned from the experience of being a farther; he learned from
what he can not change. He learns not to push his life to others. Feld changes in so many
ways, it is remarkable the lessons that Feld has learned, and yet Feld has so much more to
discover about his own life.
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