All My Puny Sorrows Themes & Motifs

Miriam Toews
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Euthenasia

Throughout All my Puny Sorrows Toews examines whether it is morally right to euthanize those who are suicidal. As the novel progresses, Elf slowly dies of despair. Elf tries to “treat” herself with repeated suicide attempts and she eventually succeeds in killing herself. Throughout the novel, Elf begs her sister Yoli to help her die by taking her to Switzerland. Yoli repeatedly debates with herself and her best friend Julie the morality, ethics, and legalities of euthanasia. Yoli begins the novel staunchly opposed to the issue. She thinks holding this idea in Elf’s mind is giving Elf a reason to cling to her despair. If there were not a relatively easy way for Elf to kill herself and die surrounded by her family she would fight harder to live. Yoli starts out seeing euthanasia as enabling Elf’s illness.

Yet like any good writer, she...

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This section contains 2,038 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the All My Puny Sorrows Study Guide
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