(Student’s Full Name)
Questions Related to Ann Beattie’s “Janus,” Kay Boyle’s “Astronomer’s Wife,” and Irwin Shaw’s “The Girls in their Summer Dresses”
- What did Katherine Ames know that was “true” as referenced in the story's ending: “‘Oh,’ said the astronomer's wife in wonder as she stepped into the heart of the earth. She took his arm, knowing that what he said was true” (168).What do Katherine's red slippers suggest about her intentions?'
One the surface, what Katherine is referring to as being “true” is the story that the plumber is telling to her about his cow that had lost her cud (5). However, the last sentences of Katherine Boyle's story indicate Katherine's discovery that men were divided into two groups. This point is illustrated by the following: “That men were divided into two bodies now seem clear to Mrs. Ames. Her husband was the mind, this other man [that is, the plumber] the meat, of all mankind” (4). In other words, her husband represents the intellectual, high-minded group of men while the plumber represented the down-to-earth and practical set of men.
Katherine Ames red slippers suggest that she intended to observe what the plumber would be doing while fixing the drains. Therefore, she wanted to make herself comfortable while observing the plumber. This is implied by the following: “‘I’m sorry—I’m sorry that my husband,’ she said, ‘is still—resting and cannot go into this [the drainage system or the “soil lines”] with you. I’m sure it must be very interesting.’” (2). The above quote indicates that Mr. Ames will not be interested in discovering what are blocking the drains, but Mrs. Ames finds it “‘very interesting.’” The thought of her going down the drains interested and excited her, which was why she put on the red slippers in case she had to go down there.
- What is the narrator implying in the underlined word about Andrea at the end of the story? : “Time passed. Alone in the living room at night, she often looked at the bowl sitting on the table, still and safe, unilluminated” (123).
The underlined word in the above quote is the word “Time.” This is the case since in the previous paragraph the following is mentioned: “Her lover had said that she was always too slow to know what she really loved” (599). Andrea was too slow to recognize the love that she had for the bowl; hence, the bowl appeared to be “unilluminated,” since she had not, at first, recognized mentally that she had loved the bowl. It took some time before Andrea recognized her love for the bowl. Furthermore, the word ‘time’ is also important because the bowl symbolizes the love she had for her past lover, who had bought the bowl for her. Andrea subconsciously places significance on the bowl because she has sentimental feelings towards her past relationship, which she refused to recognize and admit to herself. It is possible that she had suppressed her feelings related to the loss of her previous relationship, and a significant amount of time had to pass before she was able to recognize its importance to her which could explain her prizing and cherishing the bowl given to her by her ex-lover.
- What does the ending of the story reinforce about Michael's character? : The ending: “She got up from the table and walked across the room toward the telephone. Michael watched her walk, thinking, what a pretty girl, what nice legs” (1041).
The ending of the story reinforces the point about Michael’s character which suggests that he loves to look at attractive women, whether they are his wife or not. This is evidenced by the following: “I love the way women look.When I first came to New York from Ohio that was the first thing I noticed, the million wonderful women, all over the city” (par. 50). Michael Loomis is appreciative of woman’s beauty, and does not try to hide how feels when seeing a beautiful woman.
Beattie, Ann. “Janus by Ann Beattie.” BSA.edu.lv. The New Yorker, n.d. Web. 14 Apr. 2014. <http://bsa.edu.lv/docs/en.pdf>.
Boyle, Kay. “Astronomer's Wife by Kay Boyle.” Pike.k12.ga.us. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Apr. 2014. <http://www.pike.k12.ga.us/webpages/douglasl/files/astronomer%27s%20wife%20kay%20boyle.pdf>.
Shaw, Irwin. “The Girls in Their Summer Dresses by Irwin Shaw.” 101 Bananas.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Apr. 2014. <http://www.101bananas.com/library2/girlssummer.html>.