When You Are Engulfed in Flames - "It's Catching" and "Keeping Up" Summary & Analysis

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Summary

In "It's Catching," David, the narrator, recalls a Christmas dinner in which participants shared horrific stories of communicable parasites, each new story more gruesome than the previous round. The narrator listened to the stories about germs on shopping cart handles, hotel bedspreads, and other lurking social horrors and remembered when he caught crabs in his youth after buying a used pair of pants and not cleaning them prior to wearing them.

Hugh, the narrator's lover, remembered when a guinea worm formed a welt on his leg and then released a parasite from the wound upon hatching. Maw Hamrick, Hugh's mother, also experienced a similar affliction and horrific outcome on her own leg. David's sister Lisa was disgusted and paranoid, secretly wondering if Maw Hamrick was still rampant with guinea worm parasites.

Having had his fill of gruesome horror stories, the...

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This section contains 1,243 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the When You Are Engulfed in Flames Study Guide
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