If These Walls Could Talk (1996) was a trilogy of how three different women dealt with unwanted or unplanned pregnancy and how they thought of abortion as the solution. The stories transpired in the same house but in three different decades, 50’s, 70’s, and 90’s, reflecting the different social views of abortion in each period.
Using Freud’s psychoanalysis approach, in all of the three stories, there were rational characters that represent the ego figures. In the first story, there was the sister-in-law who mentioned that the situation of Claire is not acceptable. Then in the next, there was the daughter of Barbara who mentioned that her mom was never really sure if she wanted the baby in the first place. Lastly was the best friend of Christine who told her that Christine is the type of person who can’t get over abortion after doing it. On the other hand, the superego, the conscience figure, was present in the third story in the form of the young mother from the women’s’ health services who approached Christine prior going inside the clinic. She told Christine not to commit abortion for the baby should not pay for the consequences of the unwanted pregnancy.
Moreover, there were the id figures in the text. The id figures were those who were concerned in gratifying their desires. Ironically, the id figures were the main characters, the three women who seek abortion. They all wanted their babies be aborted for various personal reasons. Claire, the widowed nurse felt that having her baby born was not right because it was caused by a fling while she was grieving for her husband’s loss. More so, she could not accept that she did it with her brother-in-law and there was no justifiable reason that a woman could be pregnant after six months of being widowed. Next, Barbara, the mother of four, wanted to have abortion due to financial reasons and sacrifices that the family has to go through. Finally, Christine, the young college student seek abortion due to that pregnancy brought by his college married professor and she felt that her strict family would not accept her status. All these women were motivated by certain personal and psychological drives to give in to abortion which was not accepted in various degrees in the three different periods.
With these struggles of the characters, we can tease out one dominant binary opposition in the text, which was Individual versus Society. Each of the pregnant women experienced a personal struggle and the solution they saw to satisfy the need to be free of that struggle was something that the society condemned. The society prescribed that abortion was immoral and unacceptable regardless of any reason they may have. These were clear reflections of self-discomforts and fears of the society.
Another binary opposition present was Law versus Religion. This was presented on the third story that happened in the 90’s. Abortion was legalized already but outside the abortion clinic were protesters, mainly Catholics for they were praying the rosary and holding crosses.
The whole concept of abortion was the one to be considered the anomalous category that served as the conflict that ran the whole narrative of the three stories. It was the right thing to do as per the pregnant women, opposing the belief of the pro-life.
The text suggested two sides of “truth”. It suggested that abortion was immoral on the perspective of the pro-life, as prescribed by religion, but on the other hand also suggested that it was an acceptable choice as prescribed by the law.
Morality categorizes good from bad but the law decides which is right from wrong. Therefore, when something is immoral, it does automatically mean that it is wrong; and what is moral does not automatically mean that is right.