My favorite lines in the entire novel are in the very beginning. Malu explains to us that “the present is full of uncertainty. Full of questions. Full of misery, confusion. Silent anger. Searching searching for answers, a hint…The future is written with a red ballpoint pen that is not yet visible. A dream that is not yet dreamt” (Figiel, 5). Throughout They Who Do Not Grieve by Sia Figiel, it is noticeable that the word choice is very important when it comes to getting her point across. The way she italicizes particular words or repeats them or from the language she uses, it is evident that the author has a very specific point to get across. She doesn’t allow much space for the reader to interpret what she is saying, but rather makes the reader see it from her eyes by doing this.
In the quotation above, Figiel uses two words speaking of time: present and future. While Figiel is explaining that the past has caused us uncertainty, misery, anger, and confusion, she doesn’t actually speak directly of the past. Figiel’s main point in the novel is not to grieve. Malu isn’t allowed to grieve about the past; the death of her mother, never having a father around, her grandmother doesn’t allow it. Her present life is full of questions about what happened, about what her mother looked like, why there are no pictures of her, but she doesn’t grieve over her mother. Malu’s grandmother pushes her to overlook the past although it causes confusion in the present.
A red ballpoint pen is used to correct mistakes. Sia Figiel uses this metaphor to explain that future. There are markings from a red ballpoint pen all over the future that is not yet visible. This is because the future is a correction of the actions of your present day life. Without grief, you move on and live your life learning from your choices and experiences. With grief this wouldn’t be possible because you’d hang onto the past not leaving room to change the future.