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The Night Nurse
Grace has many meanings in the English language today. One of these meanings is

to be pardoned from one’s actions. In “The Night Nurse,” by Joyce Carol Oates, Grace

Burkhardt is pardoned many times in her life. She is pardoned from dying, pardoned from

her actions toward others, and eventually pardons herself from her actions. In life, we are

given grace, a pardon for our actions, many times,

The first example of grace being given is Grace Burkhardt’s life being saved

physically. She could have died, but was instead saved, and was given more time to live.

The doctors saved her life, not because they “chose her,” but because of their job. Grace

was not pardoned by the doctors, but by God, who allowed her to live a while longer on

the earth. She would have died from “pulmonary embolism,” had she not been saved by

the doctors. Pulmonary embolism would have been caused by “a ‘massive’ blood clot in

her leg which, had it broken free” would have been carried to her heart, and would have

killed her instantly. Instead of dying, at this place and time, Grace is given more time to

live her life.

I have experienced this type of grace many times throughout my life. Although

when I first received this grace, I may have not known I was receiving it. A few instances

of when I have been shown grace, is while I was driving. I took gravel roads to school,

and I’ve had my share of ditches. I have been shown grace in that I have never been hurt.

And the car that I was driving has never been damaged. Instead of coming out of the

accident with no injuries, I could have had really serious injuries, or not have come out at

all. There have been many deaths in my high school because of gravel roads, and I could

have been one of those deaths, had I not been given grace to continue living.

The second example of Grace receiving grace is from Harriet Zink. Grace is

reunited with an old acquaintance from her past, and a painful past between the two

women is brought up. Harriet was not treated kindly by Grace when they were younger.

Although Grace is undeserving of forgiveness, Harriet shows Grace grace. Harriet says

that she is able to forgive due to her Christian faith: “Yes, I can forgive you, Grace

Burkhardt. I’m a Christian woman. In my heart I’m empowered to forgive.” Harriet

shows grace, although in their past life together, Grace was unwilling to be friendly

towards Harriet. Harriet at first thought that she would not be able to show any

forgiveness to Grace. “’When I saw you here, Grace Burkhardt, and I thought, ‘Am I

strong enough to forgive that woman? Even with Jesus’ help, am I strong enough?’ I

didn’t know. But now I know. I am strong enough, I can forgive.” Harriet was able to

look past what Grace did to her, and forgave her.

In my life,...
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The Night Nurse. EssayMania.com. Retrieved on 12 Oct, 2010 from