The Graybar Hotel Themes & Motifs

Curtis Dawkins
This Study Guide consists of approximately 59 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Graybar Hotel.
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Art as liberation

The collection’s theme of art as liberation makes a case for therapy after incarceration.

Art, including stories, is a curated form of communication. Psychological therapy entails similar open communication. Both express emotions to another person or audience in a controlled setting. Prisoners have limited access to socialization as well as therapy—embodied by the character Doctor Stan in Daytime Drama—and have to rely on art to cope or escape.

Case in point, characters often turn to fantasies or stories to express themselves. In County, the narrator and his fellow inmates frequently re-told the myth of the Kalamazoo jail sinking into Native American soil. The myth allowed them to imagine escape, and freedom. In The World Out There, the narrator constructs an entire story from a few seconds of a girl texting at a baseball game. That story explains the language barrier separating...

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This section contains 1,975 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Graybar Hotel Study Guide
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