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Krystin Miles

on 1 April 2016

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A Complicated Kindess
Major Paper Presentation
Trudi and Tash were considered defiant in the Mennonite community. How does Nomi seek to cope with the isolation she feels and her confusion about her family members especially coming of age as a female?
Nomi copes with the isolation she feels and her confusion about her family members by: Trying to hide her emotions among her families dysfunction, going against The Mouth’s rules by drinking and using drugs, and spending more time with her boyfriend Travis who accepts her for who she is.
As the novel begins, Nomi struggles to cope with the back-to-back departures three years earlier of Tash and Trudie her mother. She lives with her father, Ray, whose love is unconditional but whose parenting skills start to neglect. Nomi and Ray deal with their losses in very different ways. Ray, a committed elder of the church, and seeks to create an artificial sense of order within their family. Ray is not aware of how disconnected Trudie, Tash and Nomi are from the Mennonite community.
I enjoy taking things from a feminist perspective because it is a perspective that is not really understood and I believe in equality for both genders.
Equality for all
is really what feminism is about.
By: Krystin Miles
A feminist perspective
1st Paragraph
Topic for Major Paper
Tash leaving causes a big change in Nomi’s character. She becomes rebellious in the same way she did, listening to her music and acting like her. Nomi starts to have nightmares. Trudie leaving after her excommunication affected her immensely. Her character changes from bad to worse after her disappearance. She becomes more and more rebellious; smoking cigarettes, doing drugs, and rarely goes to school or church.
“My mother, Trudie Dora Nickel, has gone away...I use drugs and my imagination to block that question”
. Throughout the novel she recalls certain moments and characteristics about her mother. Nomi begins to question her religious views and relies on her boyfriend Travis for some sort of relief.
2nd Paragraph
Travis is a way for Nomi to feel like she belongs and has a purpose in her life, other than motherhood and the slaughterhouse. They talk about a new life out of town and gives her hope of a new beginning where she can express herself and be accepted for who she truly is. Nomi spends a lot of time Travis, getting high, listening to forbidden music, skipping school, and having sex. As their relationship progresses, Travis becomes more rebellious, and his ideas about going to Montreal cause him and Nomi to fight. Travis ends up cheating on Nomi with a co-worker. Nomi sends his truck on fire, which gets her excommunicated.
3rd Paragraph
In the end, Nomi’s excommunication is what brings her salvation. Ray leaves in order to set Nomi free.

Nomi put most of her focus on other things such as relationships, drugs, doing the opposite of what the Mennonite community wanted her wanted to, etc. Her finally getting away from the Mennonite community is what put her at peace. Nomi had many assumptions as to why Nomi and Ray left. She chose to believe the stories that brought her the most happiness.
“I’ve learned, from living in this town, that stories are what matter, and if we believe in them, I mean really believe in them, we have a chance at redemption”.
What I think " A Complicated Kindness" is in the story
Trudie had left Ray and Nomi and Ray had left Nomi, which in the end caused her to be alone, but it set her free. It was
a complicated kindness.
Nomi could finally focus on herself, and find somewhere that would accept her for who she was. Even though at this point of the novel, everyone had been separated, Nomi’s family had never been more connected.
Trudie was very different from what a Mennonite woman should have been like, religious, but also very outgoing and wild at times.
“She approached life happily, with her arms open, which could have been a mistake”
Nomi says.
What is the significance of the title "A complicated Kindness?"
Class 1 min discussion.
"There is kindness here, a complicated kindness. You can see it sometimes in the eyes of people when they look at you and don't know what to say"
Full transcript