This Is How It Always Is Themes & Motifs

Frankel, Laurie
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Theory Versus Experience

Each of the main characters has access to multiple theoretical interpretations of reality. The way in which these theories can clash within a single person’s mind is established at the outset of the novel. Rosie is a scientist, yet her desire for a daughter is so great that she resorts to superstitions for conceiving one. Penn is a student of narrative theory who, on meeting Rosie, becomes a believer in the narratively untenable notion of love at first sight. Much later in the novel, the outed Claude/Poppy is agonizingly torn between valuing her female identity, which she learned to do at home, and feeling that her body means she can only be male, which she learned from the community.

In each case, these clashes seem to be laying the groundwork for the triumph of one theory over the other. Rosie will have...

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This section contains 2,061 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the This Is How It Always Is Study Guide
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