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Introduction & Overview of Average Waves in Unprotected Waters by Anne Tyler

This Study Guide consists of approximately 38 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Average Waves in Unprotected Waters.
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Average Waves in Unprotected Waters Summary & Study Guide Description

Average Waves in Unprotected Waters Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Further Reading on Average Waves in Unprotected Waters by Anne Tyler.

Introduction

"Average Waves in Unprotected Waters," first published in the February 28, 1977, edition of the New Yorker, is one of Anne Tyler's most anthologized short stories. Themes that appear in all of Tyler's writing are encapsulated in the life of the story's protagonist, Bet Blevins, whom the reader meets on the day she is to institutionalize her mentally handicapped son. These themes include: the family and the role of the individual in relationship to the family, parenting, memory, absent fathers, and identity and self-discovery. Published the same year Tyler published her seventh novel, Earthly Possessions, the story grapples with the complex web of characteristics that define an ordinary life. Like many of Tyler's characters, Bet Blevins is an ordinary American. She endures the hardships she has been dealt and does so as a "normal" person may be expected to endure. Through Blevins and others, Tyler proves that most events in life are complex and nuanced, which often clouds the delineation between what is heroic and what is simply normal. Tyler is well known for her ability and propensity for writing about ordinary people, a trait she shares with one of her greatest literary influences, the southern writer Eudora Welty.

Tyler developed an affinity for the short story form in the early 1970s, as it allowed her to balance the demands of motherhood and writing while her children were young, and in the latter half of the decade, she published stories in many magazines, including the Ladies' Home Journal, the New Yorker, and McCall's. Though there is not an edition of Tyler's collected short stories in which "Average Waves in Unprotected Waters" appears, the story can currently be found in several anthologies, including the ninth edition of The American Tradition in Literature, edited by George Perkins and Barbara Perkins and published by McGraw-Hill.

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This section contains 301 words
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Purchase our Average Waves in Unprotected Waters Study Guide
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Average Waves in Unprotected Waters from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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