Big Jesse Little Jesse is a story about a man named Jesse, his separated wife Corina and his son Jesse. In the story, readers can see the struggle that Jesse goes through in attempting a relationship with both Corina and his son. It is observable the way that Corina makes Jesse out to seem like the bad guy, and how the strained father-son relationship is created by the tension Corina causes through the way she portrays Jesse. Jesse struggles to find a way to accept his son, Jesse for his disability due to having one leg shorter than the other and this struggle is perpetuated by the way Corina influences his child to feel that Jesse is wrong and different. In this essay, the idea of parent alienation and the way that it affects Jesse in the story will be explored.
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An aspect of parent alienation is leaving the other parent out of important decisions/occasions in the child’s life. As stated in Psychology Today, “The acts of interference do not have to be abject obstructions, such as refusing to produce the child for [their] scheduled access time with the non custodial parent. Instead, they can be subtle, such as making unilateral decisions about the child without first seeking the other parent’s input or marginalizing the other parent by failing to keep them apprised of events or activities that are meaningful to the child.” (Psychology Today). This form of alienation is shown in the story as Corina makes a decision of Jesse’s new school, and Jesse was given no say in the matter. The story states, “… Corina has it in her head that Little Jesse needs to be going to the Catholic school across town… ‘And what if I don’t want to? What if I say no?’ ‘Then I guess we will have to do it without you.’” (Casares 93). This exemplifies that Corina has given Jesse no say in the decision regarding his son. As the article on parent alienation shares, making a unilateral decision about Jesse’s school alienates his father from the decision of where his child should be educated, and thus creating parental alienation in the situation.
Another symptom of parent alienation, is by the parent who is alienating the other parent. Often, these parents experience narcissism or borderline personality disorder. A symptom of borderline personality is extreme mood swings, even at the smallest set off. In the story, Jesse and Corina have an unresolved fight about how Jesse pulled Little Jesse away from getting burned by a motorcycle, and got away without getting burned. However, Corina still is upset over the fact that Little Jesse was close to a motorcycle that was still hot. This extreme reaction to a situation where there was no physical damage to Little Jesse would likely be considered extreme. Since this reaction is extreme, it’s a reasonable inference that some sort of mood issue caused Corina to feel that Jesse is the bad guy- thus creating the motive for alienation.
“Fostering the Child-Non-Custodial Parent Relationship Is Key.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 10 July 2018, www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/bringing-compassion-matrimonial-law/201807/fostering-the-child-non-custodial-parent.
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