Janus Essay

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Madsen Hardy has a doctorate in English literature and is a freelance writer and editor. In the following essay, she analyzes how Beattie's writing technique reflects the themes of emptiness and deception in "Janus."

Ann Beattie's "Janus" tells the story of one woman's powerful feelings for a ceramic bowl, exploring what the protagonist describes in the most personal terms as her "relationship" with the object. "The bowl was just a bowl. She did not believe that for one second. What she believed was that it was something she loved," Beattie writes of Andrea, the discontented real-estate agent who is the story's central character. Andrea sees the bowl as a lucky charm, a secret passion, and a bulwark against the emptiness and loss in her life. She invests the bowl with imagined powers and reaches a point where she can't imagine life without it.

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This section contains 1,581 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Janus Study Guide
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Janus from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.