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Lemonade: A Reflection on Self-motivation

Updated on July 28, 2011

Lemonade is a story about Jim Sr.’s grieving over his son’s loss and his inability to cope up with his son’s tragic death. It’s a story of a father who saw his son die a senseless, avoidable death right before his eyes. And it was this painful realization that made Jim Sr. so remorseful that he was unable to be consoled, he was unable to survive the loss of his boy—Jim Jr.

The story revolves around how traumatic experiences could make or break a person’s character, that if indeed, life throws lemons, the motivation to make lemonade could be lost for good.

Howard, Jim Sr.’s dad and his wife were the first to recover from the loss of their grandchild. Despite the traumatic memories it brings, the instinctual drive—of id to pursue the Pleasure Principle, to break free from emotional misery was there. Howard’s ego for instance allowed him to move on and perform the task of painting the house, a job that Jim Sr. was supposed to do. There is a sense of self-actualization in the part of Howard that there is nothing he could have done to prevent Jim Jr.’s death, it was an accident. He reinforces this belief through sublimation which is a very mature way of dealing with his loss. He do so by talking about his experiences as he narrates it to his client, and how he and his wife are also helping Jim Sr. to cope up with his loss. This allows Howard to vent out his emotions rather than suppressing them.

Howard and his wife even suggest Rationalization to help Jim Sr. to cope up with his loss suggesting that there are many ways that could contribute to why Jim Sr. had made lemonade that day even tracing back the cause to the very existence of lemonade so as to remove the blame from his son, to somehow potentially influence his way of thinking. His mother also consciously would like Jim Sr. to distant himself from the familiarity of his surrounding, taking him to Europe to see places in hopes that it will distant Jim from the traumatic memories that the familiarity of their place brings. Mrs. Sear’s Super Ego justifies that it is her duty as a mother to help her son deal with his loss as she and her husband was able to find closure from their loss.

Finally, Jim’s id was to endure all the pain and defer all gratification as in the Reality Principle; manipulating—brainwashed himself even that the death of his son is his fault, thus he has to be punished for it. Jim started to regress as evident of no longer doing his usual work, becomes dissociate despite the many attempts of his mom to get him involved in activities like crafting, he displaced himself by suppressing his emotion. There was a continuity of painful emotions because he failed to motivate himself to get over the loss of his son.


Though the story was narrated from the perspective of Howard, it was clear that Jim Sr. lacked the self-motivation to live. There was a sense of wanting to die, there was self-loathing, self-pity, and self-blame. All of these were bottled up inside Jim Sr. and despite the attempts of his parents to get him to reconnect socially in hopes of helping him cope-up with the loss of his son, these were futile attempts. There was no consoling him; emotionally that Howard even believed that his son had finally snapped.

But Lemonade is not just a story about Jim Sr.’s grieving over the tragic death of his son; it’s a metaphor of how people in general are motivated to cope up with life’s changes. My favorite part was when Howard was narrating as to when Jim was buying the lemons—he could have bought grapefruits, bananas, oranges or apples that were besides the lemons but he opted to get the lemons. He does not like lemons, at least now he does not anymore yet he did buy them because his son likes lemonade.

Life would not always have apples and peaches which is symbolic of joyous occasions, of good memories with families. Once in a while, life also throws lemons along the way—bitter experiences that could either make or break a person’s character. It could be as simple as a flat tire or as grave as the death of a son, but whatever is the case it all depends on weather he lets the sour taste bit his soul or make lemonade out of the experience.


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    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 6 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      This is a touching story. Thanks for writing it and sharing with others. Voted up.

    • profile image

      Binaya.Ghimire 6 years ago

      Interestingly told. I loved your writing style.