Referential Themes & Motifs

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Emotional Distance

One of the central tensions in the story is the sense of emotional withdrawal that has come to define Pete’s relationship with the woman and the son, and the story’s exploration of this distance reveals the suffering that such a process can cause. Although Pete and the woman still seem to have some form of relationship, the story repeatedly emphasizes the idea that Pete has begun a process of withdrawal. This idea is first established when the narration states, “At one point [Pete] had been poised to live with her, but her child’s deepening troubles had caused him to pull back” (150). Thus, the story demonstrates how Pete’s withdrawal is heavily motivated by the stresses caused by the issue of the son’s mental illness. Thus, Pete’s withdrawal is portrayed as a type of betrayal in that he has responded to...

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This section contains 1,375 words
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Buy the Referential Study Guide
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