Long Distance Essay

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Dybiec Holm is a freelance writer and editor. In this essay, Dybiec Holm traces the protagonist's journey toward discovering his personal identity.

At first glance, Jane Smiley's "Long Distance" appears to be a story about a long distance relationship and its implications. Kirby learns immediately in the story that his girlfriend in Japan will not be flying to meet him in the United States for Christmas. A deeper read, however, shows that "Long Distance" is actually about personal identity. Distance is both metaphorical and actual, as in the distance that Kirby needs to travel to define his own identity. Identity is a theme that runs through this story. Kirby searches for his identity, and other characters either lose part of their identity (Mieko) or clearly assert their own identities (Kristin, Anna, and Eric).

Kirby is a protagonist who often acts uncertainly or passively; who practices avoidance; a...

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This section contains 1,994 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Long Distance Study Guide
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Long Distance from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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