Fresh Complaint Themes & Motifs

Eugenides, Jeffrey
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Complaint

The title of the first short story in this collection, “Complainers,” is ironic, since the it reverses the trope of a complainer by framing it as a protest for independence instead. The short story takes its title from what Della and Cathy believe they have in common with the old Inuit women who were ostracized from their tribe—their complaining. The narrator explains that men who hold the opinion that their wives complain too much are themselves complaining, in the hopes of shutting women up. This reversal allows complaining to be a force of strength for the two women, instead of a character flaw. Complaining is not portrayed negatively by Eugenides.

The relief that follows complaining suggests that the sort of negative attention that complaining demands can also be a cathartic way of purging oneself from the pain of the abuse. However, the narrator suggests that...

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This section contains 3,054 words
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