Word Count: 1849Rebecca Wells paints a picture of the various roles that women often must encounter in their lives: mother, daughter, friend. As said by Charlotte Observer “She Wells speaks eloquently to what it means to be a mother, a daughter, a wife-and somehow, at last, a person.” Wells uses a captivating style to create a simple plot, memorable symbolism and a reoccurring theme of friendship. The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood teaches about the importance of giving and receiving love and finding joy in everyday life. The simplistic plot of the novel and the overall theme of love allows the author to span the lives of the main characters.
The reader sees the span of the life of two of the main characters, Sidda and her mother Vivi, as they struggle to love each other based on their own childhood experiences. The reader also sees our two main characters in parallel encountering love and affairs of the heart; yet the most powerful love throughout the book is the love of four friends who stick together through the good and the bad. Vivi loves the Ya-Yas; as adolescents they are looking for love and someone to look up to. Vivi didnt know how to love Sidda because Vivis mother didnt know how to love her; therefore, Sidda doesnt know how to love Connor because she has never experienced love and is now afraid to be in love.
The simplicity of the novel is that everyone is always looking to be loved. The simplicity is that in real life people are always searching to be loved, or finding love. Near the beginning of the novel when the ya-yas are in their adolescence as young girls, going through the normal obstacles of childhood- fighting with their parents, getting into mischief, smoking and breaking curfew- they realize that by sticking together they can get through anything. They formalize this bond with a ceremony early on, “I am a member of the royal and true tribe of the Ya-YasI do solemnly swear to be loyal sister Ya-Yas, and to love and look out for them, and never forsake them through thick and thin, until I take my last human breath” (Wells 71). Wells shows the reader that the inability to show love can be passed down through generations: Sidda expresses to Connor why she is afraid to marry him, “She Vivi didnt know how to love me, so I dont know how to love you” (Wells 284). Sidda is saying that her mother couldnt love her, therefore she is afraid that Connor wouldnt love her even though it is a different relationship from Sidda and Vivis relationship.
In the end, the love between Connor and Sidda wins over the other tragedies in Siddas life. An important development in the plot that proves that love can conquer all appears when Vivis mother sends her away against her own will to a decollate boarding school away from her friends and family. While away, Vivi stops eating and becomes very depressed, but her friends continue to write to her and look for a way to bring her home. In the end their love wins out and they are able to convince one of their parents(Genevieve) to rescue her and bring her home. QUOTE Love, even in the smallest form, can sustain through tragedy and triumph-the bonds of the ya-yas : Vivi, Necie, Caro and Teensy.
The story line allows the character to triumph over tragedy and rejoice in love,-simple stories-no matter how impossible they feel it is at the time. Through the course of the novel, Wells uses the strong symbol of the alligator to represent hurtful, dangerous and painful things in the world. Vivi talks to Sidda as a young child warning her about the importance of doing as she was told in order to avoid the dangerous things in life. “Even I cant save you from all the alligators in the worldso dont push your luck”(Wells 32).
As Sidda gets older and becomes stronger, her mother tries to tell her that now, as you are getting older, you will take risks. You will get into trouble as part of the growing experience, and I will be there to help you. “I will always save you from the alligators, but when Im not here stay in the safe places” (Wells 152). Sidda carries the symbol of the alligator with her to remind her of the things in her mind that she should not or cannot do, such as her fear of marrying Connor.
“Theres such a thing as alligators that get in the way for certain people” (Wells 315). Connors response to this is that his love is stronger for her than any of the problems that they could encounter in their life together. “I am stronger than alligators” (Wells 315). The alligator symbol is a constant reminder of the dangers in life; whether the love of a mother, or eventually partner, people overcome the alligators. The creative and unique style which Wells chooses facilitate the reader in capturing the true message without wasting time with character descriptions. Through the series of letters written to other characters the reader gets a third person voice from the author, but with a first person view from the character.
This is fascinating to the reader because it allows the reader to understand and each character individually. The reader is able to see traits that might not be revealed by the book. Wells lets us into a few of the quirks in the characters personalities through a sequence of letters. The Ya-Yas are all off to see the opening of “Gone With the Wind” in Atlanta, during the time period this is a big event.
Vivi writes and tells the reader one of her secrets which helps us to look at her on the inside, “My secret dream is to meet Margaret Mitchell. Dont tell anybody but it is my secret plan to get her autograph at the ball” (Wells 86). Even through the letters the reader can see the strength of the Ya-Yas relationship, “It breaks my heart into a million pieces to think that you left town on that train like you arent even loved, which you are”(Wells 198). This shows the characters ability to show their love freely. The reader sees the characters even more pronounced by the way they sign off their letters: It is powerful and useful to the reader in that it shows the reader an even deeper look at their personalities and how they would react to things in life. Through each Ya-Ya the reader can see each of the Ya-Yas personalities through the way they sign off their letters: Vivi is the independent Ya-Ya “Forget love, try good manners” (Wells 25).
Necie is the sensitive and affectionate Ya-Ya, “Love and Kisses and prayers” (Wells 198). Caro is the strong Ya-Ya, “We love you” (Wells 200). Teensy is the happy Ya-Ya, “XXXOOO” (Wells201). The authors style contributes to the readers insight into the characters individual approach into giving and receiving love. The reader can see the theme of love is bound through the book, it ties and bonds the elements of the story together. Vivi says to Sidda when Sidda is having doubts about her engagement to Connor, that you are never going to get it (Love) perfect.
It is just there and it is based on your capacity to give or receive it, “Do you think any of us know how to love? Do you think anybody would ever do anything if they waited until they knew how to love?!” (Wells 25). Sidda finally comes to realize that she does have the capacity to love and although it is not the perfect love she is searching for, it is good enough to help her through her relationships. “my mothers love is not perfect. My mothers love is good enough.
My partners love is good enough. I am good enough” (Wells 327). Once Sidda realizes that there is no perfect love, just love, she is able to see the people and events in her life in a different way and was able to embrace life as she hadnt before, “For Sidda Lee Walker the need to understand had passed, all that was left was love and wonder” (Wells 356). The theme of love throughout the book threads its way through the lives of the characters to show us the different ways one can express love, and the difficulties that some can have in receiving love. Wells entwines her novel around the theme of womens friendships and the importance to allowing women to cope with the other relationships in their lives. She emphasizes the importance of the friendship shared by the Ya-Yas.
Sidda writes to Vivi to obtain some insight on friendship among women, and she realizes that the best source to go to would be to go to the Ya-Yas who have been friends for over fifty years. Although many things in their lives have changed, their friendship has withstood and never altered: “You Vivi know everything about female friendship. Youve been buddies with Caro, Necie and Teensy for over fifty years. You are the expert” (Wells 6).
Vivi expresses her thoughts to Caro about how important the female friendship is, and how it has helped her survive through her many experiences in life. Vivi declares that only one of her wishes in life is for Sidda to find real friends in her life, like the Ya-Yas. “Some women pray for their girls to marry good husbands. I pray that Sidda will find girlfriends half as loyal and true as the Ya-Yas” (Wells 296). As said by the Albuquerque Journal “Every woman should have a pack of buddies like the Ya-Yas.” In the end Sidda sees a picture of all the Ya-Yas together.
After hearing all the stories and hearing about all of their feelings, through this one picture Sidda can understand and see these feelings and that it really was their friendship that guided them through their whole life. And that together they really were all one. “I see lightness and ease. I see suffering somewhere in my mothers Vivi eyes, but also I feel the camaraderie, laughter, friendship” (Wells 313). The Ya-Yas are very much at ease giving love to each other.
That is what helped them to sustain their friendship for so long and helped them throughout their lives to love each other. Through the lives of five extraordinary women: Sidda, Vivi, Caro, Necie and Teensy, Wells uses a captivating style to create a simple plot. Memorable symbolism and the reoccurring themes of friendship and love in the novel The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. Wells shows the reader that love and friendship, even in the smallest form, can sustain through tragedy and triumph-the bonds of the Ya-Yas. Works Cited Primary Source: Wells, Rebecca. The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.
New York New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 1996. Secondary Source: Wells, Rebecca. The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. New York New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 1996.