Trash: Stories Themes & Motifs

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Class Consciousness

In many of these stories, the demarcation of class distinctions designed to belittle lower classes and elevate upper classes is highlighted.

In "River of Names," the narrator is both jealous and in awe of her girlfriend Jesse's idyllic childhood. However, in some ways, Jesse cannot believe the narrator's childhood because her own upbringing provided much more stability and comfort. The narrator, too, aims to preserve the distinction by making up lies about her childhood, protecting Jesse from the ugly truth. The differences in the two women's childhoods based on the class of their families -- and the violence inflicted on the narrator and her family -- make it impossible for the two women to relate to each other authentically and form a long-lasting relationship.

In "Meanest Woman Ever Left Tennessee," Shirley Boatwright, who considers herself to be better "quality" than her husband and children, insists...

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This section contains 1,251 words
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Buy the Trash: Stories Study Guide
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