(Survey of Young Adult Fiction)

The strongest theme of After the Rain is that even though individuals may be separated by a generation gap, they still share common worries, emotions, and internal conflicts. Sixty-eight years separate geriatric Izzy and teenage Rachel, but many parallels exist between them. Their emotions mirror each other and vacillate between anger, fear, sorrow, hope, and love. They try to balance between the extremes of being independent and being needed.

Both feel betrayed. Izzy feels betrayed by his age, his failing health, and his imminent death. He experiences humility, an emotion foreign to someone of his former strength. He can no longer be independent and needs someone to care for him. Rachel feels betrayed because her mother was forty-six when Rachel was born. Her parents are old, sensitive, and too easily pleased. She missed a family closeness that was never there for her. She is offended when her niece talks about her close relationship with Grandmother Shirley, because Rachel never had this type of relationship with Izzy. She never even liked him, and now she wonders if she is using his death to make herself important with her family and friends. Is she merely using the situation to obtain attention? Is she betraying herself by concealing her own emotions? She uses self-restraint to avoid crying and grieving until after his death. Rain symbolizes her pent-up emotions. Once the rain has passed, she can release the grief and anger that she suppressed and move on with her life.

Fear of what...

(The entire section is 622 words.)