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The Great Mix-Up

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Wow. Switched at Birth.  M this M that M who?! I cannot even believe this!

I really enjoyed this episode because it does a great job conveying the emotions from a variety of different perspectives. ¬†I think there is some mythic element to hearing stories about people switched at birth–we joke about it routinely–gawk at it in movies and then convince ourselves that it never really happens. ¬†Apparently, as another classmate posted, its far more common than we believe.

Growing up I looked nothing like my sister, and my daily quest became trying to force my mom into admitting I was adopted–not because I genuinely thought I was, but because it was this hidden fear lurking somewhere in my awkward adolescent self. She always responded by laughing at my outrageous claim, and once I got into middle school my mom showed me a picture of my Great Grandma and said “all those years you claimed you were adopted…look…” ¬†We were identical, and as my hair thickened and cheeks set in–it was very clear I was my great-grandmother’s and my mother’s daughter.

Granted my hypothesis was the result of sibling rivalry and feeling like a misfit, but I think it raises a good point to our view of the nuclear family and biological relationships. ¬†In modern America there is so much diversity. ¬†Adoption is a trend and ethnic and physical differences in a family portrait are not uncommon. But this is now, and the instance with the two families was then… definitely then.















The reactions of the children and mothers really speak to this. ¬†Everyone references how each daughter resembled the other family, even people from the church parish questioned the families–but still no one did or said anything. ¬†The father’s initial reaction to not “disgrace the doctor” is a poignant example of this change. ¬†In middle America during the middle of the century, valorizing your professionals was status quo–unlike now where patients are held on the pedestal.

The unwillingness and lack of acceptance among both families really demonstrates how much we fear difference.  The denial of both parents and siblings for so long seems to suggest that humans are so invested in not admitting their mistakes that they will convince themselves of something so outrageous before even considering revealing the truth.

It is a sad, sad circumstance to me, and I am glad I am growing up in the Now, opposed to the then.



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