Barren Island - Chapter 0-1 Summary & Analysis

Carol Zoref
This Study Guide consists of approximately 65 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Barren Island.
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Summary

The novel opens with a first person narration describing Barren Island and Barren Shoal, two desolate, destitute communities that make up part of Jamaica Bay's small network of islands in New York. The description of the islands is focused primarily on the smell, a grotesque and distinct product of "maggot-covered cow skins, postulated hog snouts" (7) and other rotting animal parts that are gathered in both Barren Island and Barren Shoal to be processed and burned to make glue or grease. The narrator, who introduces herself as 80-year-old Marta Eisenstein Lane, lived on Barren Shoal with her family for 25 years in the first half of the twentieth century. Marta provides her family's personal history of settling in Barren Shoal after arriving in New York via Ellis Island, as was standard for immigrants, and their first six weeks with family in Borough Park. Marta describes...

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This section contains 1,706 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Barren Island Study Guide
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