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Mar. 22nd, 2010

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Apr. 28th, 2008

Lit Themes Journals Part 3

For Strong Women by Marge Piercy pg 182
Woot feminism I love it all ^_^. This is a great poem. I love the repetition of the word “strong” within the course of the poem that seems to reinforce the image of a strong woman standing defiantly in all her glory.
Some of what I like in this poem is that part of what makes up a “strong woman” to the narrator are characteristics that are rarely thought of as those the “strong women” would have. For example, the whole second stanza is about how a really strong woman has a voice in her head repeating discouragement and insults at herself. I think that it is encouraging to other women to know that they are not the only ones with doubts in themselves or what they are doing. The narrator seems to be saying that if a woman, or anyone really can still continue on her course when her own mind is thrown into self doubt, worry, and questioning, than that woman is one with lots of courage an inner strength. It can be hard when other denounce us, but it is even harder to continue a task if we denounce ourselves. In today's world, women are still not equal. There are still things that are frowned on if a woman does, and there are still pay separations and stereo types. No matter how independent one is, one can't help but be affected by society's belief system and wonder, “What am I doing? Why have I spoken up? I should sit down again. Where did I get the nerve?”, to be able to rise above these confining beliefs it does take true strength in a lot of ways.
Another unusually image of strength I enjoyed was where the narrator said “she is not strong as a stone but as a wolf/ suckling her young. Strength is not in her, but sh/ enacts it as the wind fills a sail.” I think that these ideas are unique and beautiful. They show a different kind of strength and one that has a more female mind set than the the idea of being strong like a rock, that is the kind of physical strength that fewer women possess, but many are able to expose themselves to others as a wolf must to feed her young. That takes its own kind of strength. The idea that strength is in a person is a common idea that one either has the ability or one doesn't I prefer Piercy's take on it where strength is not in the strong. Strength is an action that any person can pick up to move things forward. It is a beautiful idea.
I also like the idea of strong people shoveling muck and mire because it is also unusual. When I think of people actively cleaning sewage and other unfavorable jobs, I think of the caste system that used to be in India and I think of the untouchables. People don't often consider the untouchables a strong group of people. They are the lowest of the low and one is not supposed to talk with them or touch them. They have been incarnated to such a lowly station for punishment, they were weak and did something wrong in their last life. One thinks of Brahmans as the strong caste, because they have all the power and they are the most likely to break away from the cycle of reincarnation and reach freedom. However, if you thing about it, I would imagine that it takes more strength to face a terrible fate than a good one. I think it would take more will to shovel sewage for a living then it would take to sit on pillows and meditate. This idea seems to speak that even the lowliest of people can be strong, and that power=/=strength.

“the Market Economy” by Marcey Piercy pg184
Ah a feminist and an environmental activist, my kind of author. I love the message of technology as a price. One needs to know what one is buying. Too often people want or have ridiculous items for no particular reason. It is wasteful to have something one doesn't need, and the truth of the matter is that with the creation of every slight conveniences we have destroyed areas of land to get the natural resources and we have poured chemicals into the air. I like this poem because it shows a direct correlations between being sucked into modern day conveniences one doesn't really need and diseases such as lung cancer. The conveniences start out as just niceties that most people in America today have like color TVs, or plastic cups, which while wasteful are often used. Then what the narrator is offering is just extravagant and absurd such as ten year's worth of frozen dinners , whatever happened to simple cooking. Is one really too busy or lazy for that? I also like how the diseases start a bit far off for my taste, like a baby being born with a crooked spine as a result of a colored TV, I don't think that that actually happens, and it is a bit outrageous. Then a left lung rotted with cancer, is fairly feasible as is the idea of one's colon shutting down, so each thought slowly becomes more and more reasonable.
I also like the narrator's response to the silent reply of “if you don't like it don't use it.” She begins to talk about how so many people have no choice. There is no where else to work and a job is needed. One needs a home and if the only play is under a “yellow sky” no one is going to turn that away. My favorite line has to the be “ Don't read the fine/ print, there isn't any.” I think its funny because it isn't that there is no down side, its that the fine print can be read in the yellow skies and all the sickness around the factory. There is no fine print because the dangers are self evident facts all around us.

“What's That Smell in the Kitchen?” by Marge Piercy pg185
It has a feel of passive resistance to it, tee he a touch of Gandhi or Martin Luther King Junior in it that makes it an interesting poem. All over America, the narrator tells the reader, women are burning their dinners for their husbands. I don't understand why the women don't just get a divorce. IT seems like so much work and if the men can't pay attention to their wives and treat them right then let them make their own dinner and clean their own house. We don't need them.
Still setting side my differences with the poem for a minute the comparision to food is really fantastic. I have cooked quite a few meals before and I have to say I really appreciate the cooking analogy. Its rather interesting. When the narrator says “Anger sputters in the brainpan, confined/ but spewing out missile of hot fat.” I actually cringed while reading that line. One of my favorite things to cook is chicken in the frying pan, and one of its largest downfalls is that oil and meat fat sizzles and splatters on the oven and on the person. It really burns to be hit with even a little hot fat. My mom actually had to go to the hospital once because she got the hamburger meat's juice splattered across her hand when she was cooking it. So this explanation for the anger and how it acts in the brain is really clear, because while it is contained from the men for the most part, the “bits of fat” fly out and burn the men's dinners. I also like the idea of “carbonized despair” because despair, like soda can be explosive when too much pressure is put on it. People in general only can tolerate so much depression before a person snaps and lashes out against themselves or others. Carbonated soda can only take so much shaking and when it is opened it explodes. I think its clever that the narrator works in grilling the husbands, since the women are burning all their cooking they really want to burn their husbands, its a rather clever way to say the whole thing.
I also like the use of the grotesque image of feeding a rat to someone. It has shock value. I think the addition of the bomb really helps to show how strong the feeling of the women are, and it also shows the explosiveness of the situation.
The cooking metaphor is held all the way through, even as the women explain why they are angry. “Look, she says, once I was roast duck/ on your platter with parsley but now I am Spam.” That really illustrates the deprecation and devaluation the husbands have for their wives. To go from such a good meal to such a gross one really help to display the problem. Why would the men take their women for granted in such a way? Why would they just stop valuing their wives? Why would the wives want to be any kind of meal for their husbands, I want to be more than a good dish to the husband I might one day have.

“After Apple Picking” by Robert Frost pg 189
This is an interesting poem. The two-pointed ladder sticking through the tree could be like a stairway to heaven, or it could be like the tower of babble that humans tries to create to get back into the Garden of Edan, but God struck it down and damned the people by making them each speak different languages. I alos wonder if the apple is supposed to symbolize the orginal forbidden fruit and orginal sin, is this waste of the last apples some sort of core sin?
There is a clear change of seasons coming on. It is the end of fall, which could symbolize the end of life. A lot of things give the poem a dream like quality or the thought that the narrator may be falling in and out of sleep. The narrator keeps insisting that he is tired, and he also seems adamant that there is no longer a need to work, though there are still apples in the tree and there is still time to pick them.
Some of the images, could be everyday occurrences or strange dreamlike things. For example “I cannot rub the strangeness form my sight/ I got from looking through a plane of glass/ I skimmed this morning from the drinking trough/ And held against the world a hoary grass.” could just be talking about the narrator scooping some ice that had frozen in the water trough over night out of it and dumping it on the grass. Or the narrator could be in some sort of dream sequence where there is glass in the water trough and once he pulls it his vision becomes distorted and warped? It sounds as if the narrator has worked had, and while there is more to be done, he is too tire, which suggests that he is in an altered state or preparing for his own death. Very rarely would one leave apples left unpicked before the winter, as every little bit would help with food and money. The only reason I think one would not pick the apples were if one were sick or if one were dying.
Other references to this strange state of consciousness include the entrance of the woodchuck. IT is just this random animal thrown into the mix and I'm sure what it is supposed to do beyond confuse everyone. It is interesting and confusing all at the same time.

“My Papa's Waltz” by Theodore Roethke pg 346
This poem is filled with violent images hidden in the facade of surface level playfulness. The father works at lower level job where his hands get “caked hard by dirt”, then afterwards he goes to bar where he drinks until the whiskey on his breathe “Could make a small boy dizzy”, and then he goes home. The narrator is someone who is reflecting on an event that happened in his childhood many times, it is an adult telling the child's story because the language is too difficult for a child to manage with.
The poem makes me fearful. On a literal level one could take the poem to be a drunk father coming home and playing with his kid after work. Since the father is drunk, he has less control over his actions and he tends to accidentally hurt the child and make things fall over. The boy “hangs on to him like death”, I wonder if this is because of a fear for himself or for his father. I'm sure the father comes home too late for the boy to see him on many occasions, and I'm also sure that even at this young age the boy may be able to sense that the father is going to die from his addictions. On the other hand, perhaps the boy thinks that the closer he holds his father, the less likely he will fall victum to a “misstep” or a falling pan. He might just be holding on to his father because he is scared and he wants his dad to protect him the way father's should.
I wonder if the waltzing pair is just knocking down the pans or if the pans are falling on them. If the pans fall on either the boy or the father, they could be hurt, which might be one reason that the mother “can not unfrown herself”. Though its more likely that the woman wants to smile at the father's and boy's antics, but can't because the father is drunk and hurting her son in this rough housing. She wants the scene to be a happy good one, but she can't see it as one as long as the father is drunk.
The father holds the boy's wrist logically because the boy is too small to hold his hand and to help the boy in the waltz. On the other side, the holding of wrist trapped the boy into the waltz. The battered knuckle of the father could suggest many things. It might have come from work, or it might have come from the bar where he got into the fight, or if one choses to look beyond the literal meaning of the poem the battered knuckle could come from the father beating the boy. The boy must be very small or the father very tall for every missed step to make his ear scrape the father's belt buckle. I couldn't help but feel that this line was beyond literal and meant more like every mistake the father made, that lost the family money, the boy suffered the consequences of moving, or going without food, or not having the sort of opportunities that he deserved.
I cringed at the first line of the next stanza. My first though about the phrase “beat time” was to think of marching band. The is this plastic block called a gauk block, which the drum major beats time with a drumstick into to help teach the band the tempo when one is rehersing the moves. I remember seeing the drummajors hands after beating the gauk block, a good hour of it and the hands were read and swollen just from the vibrations, and when they regained feeling the drum major 's hands would ache from the effort. I can remember the band director screaming at the drum majors to bet time harder, and all I could think of is if it hurt the drum majors so much to beat time into a gauk block so much then what would the little boy have felt against his hand when the father beat time on his head. I couldn't understand the last line of why the boy would still cling to the man's shirt, but then I thought maybe he seeks protection from the man who hurts him. Maybe this sick love and abuse is all the boy knows and he longs for what attention he gets. Maybe it really is just a poem about a father who comes home drunk and while he intends to be playful he accidentally hurts the boy and both are pitiable in their plight, though I tend to think that the poem is about the boy's relationship with his father as a whole and how aclohal ruined all the potential good times the two could have shared.

“Sonny's Blues” By James Baldwin pg 404
This was a really interesting short story. I liked how the separation between the two brothers didn't automatically disappear. I want to say that Sonny will stay off heroine but I'm really not so sure. I think that he is doing better, and I think the ending with Sonny playing the piano so well without the drugs is a positive note. Maybe if Sonny stays with his brother and his family things will end up alright for him. I wonder where he ever got the money for heroine in the first place?
I wish that the narrator had tried harder to stay in touch with Sonny in the beginning. He seem so self focused, and uncaring about his brother. I wonder why the two were never close. One would think that in that sort of neighborhood family would really mean something and one would stick together because one knew that he or she could trust family. I know the two of them are very different, but I still wonder how one escaped without any addictions and the other one fell into drugs. Why didn't his brother warn him? Why couldn't Sonny see the problems for himself.
I have a lot of problems with this story in some ways because I am the oldest in my family. My sister, Emma, is two and a half years younger than me and my brother, Kyle, is five years younger than me and we are very close. I stand up for Kyle and I defend. Even now, when I am three hours away from them, I am the first to know what is happening in their lives, and I am the first one that they come to for advice. I talk to my siblings much more than I talk to my mother or father. My sister and I are as different as day and night. I can remember the first time my band director met my sister. I was one of his favorite students, so he was thrilled that he was going to conduct an event where he would meet my sister earlier. When he came back from meeting Emma the first thing he said to me about the meeting is “Your sister is significantly different than you are. Are you two really even related?” I laughed and nodded at him.
My point though, is that even though the narrator and Sonny are very different and they are farther away age wise, there is no reason why the two shouldn't be closer. They could have done so much by pooling together their separate talents and weaknesses. I also don't understand why the mother and father did not speak of the father's brother sooner. I think that would have been something very important to have told both Sonny and the narrator. It shows the importance of brothers and family, and it also tells both of them that they don't have to go looking to get in trouble. It might have helped both of them to understand the importance of sticking together.
There is a serious lack of communication between the two brothers, and that really annoys me. I don't think that people communicate in a clear and meaningful way often enough in stories or in real life. I always try my best to say exactly what I mean in the best and mot frank way possible. Sometimes the situation calls for more tact and diplomacy than complete disclosure would allow but it still is important to speak one's truth. I really think that if Sonny and the narrator had communicated more clearly than things would have turned out better. They might have never seen eye to eye, but at least they would understand one another and be able to better respect the other's challenges and difficulties.
I feel that if I have been able to get my feelings better across to my mother then maybe we wouldn't have the rift between us we do to day. I tried to in as many ways as I know how, but my mother and I are very different people who operate in very different ways. I love her very much, and while I understand what she thinks, how she reacts, and I have reasons towards why, it is much harder for me to get across why I feel and act as I do to her.

“Daddy” by Sylvia Plath pg 350
This is a beautiful poem that I have trouble relating to. My Dad and I have a pretty good relationship for the most part. There wasn't this struggling anger, accusation, or hurt that seems to be in Plath's poem. When I was younger I idolized my dad and I clung to him when he was home. Then he was home less and working more, and I began to hate work for it, how dare they take away my father. After I while though, I understood my father's responsibilities at work and really just learned to appreciate what time we had. As kids, my sister and I would fight over who could sit next to my father anywhere we went. We held his hand when he walked even though we had to run to keep up with his long strides. I did a lot of things that I would have been too scared to do because my father offered them to me and I wanted to be close to him. I also did a lot of boring things for the sake of spending time with my father. I tried to get along so long with my mother for my father's sake. I think that I would have had nothing to do with her a very long time ago if my father did not love her so very much.
My dad and I have always been able to talk easily. We have been open with thoughts and feelings and there is little we don't share. Certainly lots of our thoughts are from complete opposite schools and our opinions on many things hit opposite ranges of extremes. We have fought ugly battles over who is correct and what so of obligations I do or do not owe my parents for raising me, but at the end of the day we can walk away respecting our difference of opinions and compromising on a course of action.
I think the angriest I ever made my father was when I told him that I was not Roman Catholic and that I did not believe that Jesus Christ was our Savior. My father is very religious and our family goes to church every Sunday, I went to Religious Studies weekly , my mother is part of a bible club, and God is discussed in great detail all the time. It was a very big shock for him to find out that I had rejected that particular faith system and was searching on my own for something else. I can still remember the hurt and the betrayal. We talked for hours, weeks, and even years about why I did not believe in Christianity and what I did believe. I know today he is still not really thrilled with this, but we get around it. I go to church with my family weekly out of respect for their beliefs when I am home, and I will hold a discussion on any faith I know enough about to talk on.

“Heritage” by Linda Hogan pg 490
So very interesting and cute. The narrator is talking about what each member of her family gave her. She has her mother's wrinkles, as I have my mother's nose. Her mother taught her to bake bread. She has her father's eyes and a memory from the year that locusts destroyed the crops. Her uncle created wooden carvings she still has, and she learned the old chants from her native culture from him . Her grandfather taught her old supertions and how to fear an inablity to communicate through his own silent ways.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the poem isn't about the traits that the narrator has gained from her family, but the shame she feels that she carries in the family line. Somewhere in her family line, children were had between the native people and white people. The narrator carries that heritage with her in shame. She feels it is a stain on her native culture and who she is supposed to be. She values her heritage and loves all that is Native American about her family. She clings to family traditions and believes folk remedies and learns her old language. It is clear that the narrator's white heritage is a mark of shame to her.
I can't relate to this feeling of shame in heritage. I want to say that one shouldn't be ashamed of one's background but accept it and celebrate what one can of it, though I guess that it should be expected that there is a lot of prejudice and hate against one's heritage if there was a rape one could remember in one's lineage. Its a whole part of being a rape child I had never considered. I had thought about how both the mother and the child could potentially get over the trauma of how the child was conceived and the child could be loved and well cared for, but I have never thought of the child's father. I guess that I thought the child's dad and his heritage would drift off into obscurity, but if the rapist was of a different ethnicity then I suppose it would be easy to fall into the trap of feeling ashamed and guilty for one's background.
It would be especially easy to feel very self consciously away of one's lineage in the late seventy in Oklahoma where one doesn't fit in with either the other Native Americans or the white section. One is discriminated because of one's Native American heritage, but one is not accepted into the Native American community because of one's white blood. I couldn't image what that is like.

“The Mother” by Cwendolyn Brooks pg 583
I know this is a terribly sad poem and I should have more sympathy for the narrator... but I just can't muster it. I am sorry that this has happened to her, but she really did it to herself. It makes me so angry, but I am strongly against abortion. I do think that it is wrong. I don't know, for me abortion never will be a solution, but I respect other's choices to do as will. I try not to judge others for their own choices regarding abortion because it is such a personal topic. I try to avoid conversations about it, but of course it is everywhere, and people do dislike my take on the situation. I don't know, now that I personally know people very well who have had abortions, I struggle more and more with it. I don't like it, it is wrong. In the cases I know of abortion, I don't think I can forgive the person who had one. She was having unprotected sex, what did she expect? How could she just kill that potential? I couldn't watch all that life bleed out of me, I have too much respect for it.
I'm sure there are millions more abortions that have been performed for good reasons, perhaps the child will be born with a genetic disease that will savagely kill it, maybe the mother will die in child birth if she carries the baby to term, or perhaps the mother was raped and can not emotionally deal with the child she is carrying in her. I am sure there are more abortions for this reason than there are because people are irresponsible, but I can't stop from hating the act for the minority.
I don't know this woman's full story. I have no idea why she killed those children and all that potential. I can weep for what could have been with her because I am so conscientious of it as well, but I have trouble feeling sorry for her. I am sorry for her potential children. I am sorry for what the world could have had, and I am angry at her. So many families want children and can't have them, and then there are those who have abortions. There are many mothers who lose their child to miscarriages, who's children don't survive their birth, or who are dead before they are born, and this woman finds write about those she threw away. If I ever get old and try to have children but am unable to for whatever reason, this is the sort of poem that would make me cry in my own frustration while I detested the narrator for her words.
I guess what I am saying is that I am glad that she is sorry about what she did. I am glad that she has sorrow for what could have been. I think I would be angry if I got through this and found a “ham abortion solves everything without regret or mixed emotions”. How could anyone hope to forget a life?

“Two Small-Sized Girls” Minne Bruce Pratt pg 630
I feel bad for the narrator. She shouldn't have lost her children. She sounds like she is a good and capable mother, but the courts did not want a lesbian to have the children. I wonder if the husband is nice. I wonder how people get to a point where they have children and are married, only to realize that they had a different sexual orientation.
I wonder how the husband took it, and I wonder how the family took it. Was it a bitter divorce or just a sad one? Is the narrator allowed to see her children now or are all her rights removed? Does the grandmother know of her daughter's lifestyle choice? How does the grandmother feel? I think the grandmother must know about her daughter's decisions, and I hope she is there for her. She seems to be there.
She gave birth to those children. She nursed them as babies. She taught them how to speak, and now because of one life choice, which has no bearing on her mothering capabilities she has lost her children. That is terrible.
It is interesting how the two girls who grew up as almost sisters became a lesbian couple in their poem. Ones who are going through the same trials to try and keep their children. I don't know what I would do if I have children and they were threatened in such a way. I think I would stay with my husband to keep the children close. Perhaps that would be lying to myself or dangerous to my health, if I have children they will be my primary concern in life.
The corn dolls are sad and I'm not quite sure what to make of them, in the beginning the two girls were making people out of corn dolls, and in the middle they had made real children with their ex-husbands and lost them, then in the third part they burned their corn dolls and all their gardens. Is this symbolic of the girls being unable to keep what they shape. Has society ripped everything from these girls hands that all that is left for them is self destruction? Or is burning the doll a form of control and power over the enemy, a “you took our children, but we won't let you take everything even if it has to be destroyed to keep it from you. I would rather the destruction of my creations than the possession of what I love be in the hands of a stranger.”

“The Glass Menagerie” by Tennessee Williams pg 437
That was terribly sad, but I suppose it is a classic Tennessee William thing to do. After all, what is a play without at least two insane women. I love Laura, and I feel bad for her. I like the little world she lives in, I like the fact that she seems so entranced with art and beauty . Her child like wonder is something to be marveled and appreciated. I love the fact that how hard she tries to make her mother and brother happy. I feel bad for the brother, but I feel worse for Laura. I want to know what is wrong with her. Why isn't she working a common laborer job as her brother is? Why is she so shy? How come she seems to be so quickly and easily started. In some ways her sensitivity bothers me a little. I want her to learn to stand up for herself. I want her to love herself. She is too delicate for the world she lives in. In many ways she reminds me of the vulnerable piece of Blanche from Streetcar Named Desire.
The mother was so demanding and bitter. I think she drove her husband away as she drove her son away. She didn't want what was best for her son she wanted what was best for herself. The mother really never stopped to think about what was best for Laura only about trying to relive her own life, only without all the mistakes of her former life. Parents seem to do this so much more than they should. I feel like my mother tries to improve her own perfection through me sometimes and that really isn't any of her business what I do or do not do.
I don't understand why the family stayed stranded up north when the father left. Certainly the mother must have made friends when she settled in the area, and if for some reason she had difficulty making friends, why didn't she go back south where friends and family could have helped her. She should have collected herself for the sake of her family. I wish she could have pulled things together for their sake. I feel like Tom's dreams were crushed before they even had a chance to take off. He was burdened with a crippled sister and an insane overly controlling mother. I don't understand why the mother felt she had any authority over Tom if Tom paid all the bills for the family's existence. She reminded me of Mrs. Readren, who also tried to force her son to take care of the family to his own destruction. It was never Tom's responsibility, and while I don't think that I could have left my sister to starve and suffer as Tom inevitable has, I am glad for him. He has a chance to be happy, and out of everyone in that family, he is really the only one with the chance to be happy. Laura, while I want to cradle her and protect her really doesn't have the resources to become happy. She doesn't have the resolve to leave the house, she doesn't have the drive to do anything. I wish she wasn't to delicate to exist in this world, but she really is one of those glass trinkets that is constantly being cracked and broken by the smallest bump. Both Jim and Tom break her and her will in so many ways and it is so sad that Jim was engaged and could not help Laura out of her shell. I wonder if he is just lying to her about the engagement to not hurt her feelings. I wish that there was someone in the play to relate to Laura, but there isn't. I think Tom comes the closest to really understanding her, and Tom is too bound and gagged by society himself to help Laura. It makes me very sad and hurt. In someways it reminds me of my sister and my relationship. I know she is at home struggling with my mother in many ways similar to those I struggled, and I want to help her, but I can't. I don't know what to say to her, and I don't know how to keep mother off of her. I can't give her success and understanding for her anymore than I could find those sort of things in that house.

“The Running Man” by Loren Eileley pg 335
The mother is a character. I love that she is “stone deaf” and still independent enough to go from farmers house to farmer's house cleaning, cooking, and sewing for jobs. IT only makes it better that she is “paranoid, neurotic, and unstable.” I have to admit in the beginning I laughed at this intro where she was staying with her sister, who took her in out of charity, left to work odd jobs in the farm because she was fed up with dealing with the sister. I also love the lines “It comes to me in retrospect that I never saw my mother weep; it was her gift to make others suffer instead.” I laughed then too. It sounded so much like the typical mother introduction, the one who doesn't cry but just yells has her son(s) and/or daughter(s) about how useless and pathetic they are. “Do you know how much easier my life would be without you?! Do you know what I sacrificed for you? I don't know how yet, but somehow this is all your fault!” I could just here the woman shouting these... though she is def so she probably can't talk either. I wonder exactly how one knew that she was trying to make you bad, I mean all you'd have to do is close your eyes and she would effectively be blocked out from your life. I know so very many people like this in general, not just mothers but group leaders and scared children who don't want to face the reality of life and the responsibility that one day they will have to claim.
The stream of consciousness reminded me much of Faulkner's work, and I found it a little confusing. I know I lost a lot of it in pure confusion and inability relate. I know that his mother died, and I think that his father left him. I get the feeling that his mother and himself were wandering and living outside in the cold wilderness. I think that at one point in time they both almost died in a pile of leaves from cold and pure exhaustion. There are a lot of references to the “American Man” which admittedly I have trouble placing. I wonder if this is him trying to be the all American Man or if this is his way of mocking the American Man.

“The Love of My Life” by T. Coraghessan Boyle pg 612
These kids are retarded. You just don't have sex without a condom or some form of birth control. As crude as the saying is it fits this short story “no glove no love”. I was just so angry at this couple. What were they thinking? Life is not a cliché love movie. One can not expect it to be filled with the wonder and and magic of one. China and Jeremy are so stupid, I hope that both of them got locked in prison forever. The baby wasn't a thing, an it or and alien, it was a person, it was life, it was pure potential in its most precious form.
If she didn't want the kid there was the option of abortion. China's family was friends with her doctor, he would have given her a late term abortion, even her dad had said so. What annoyed me most about China and her family was that the parents weren't really properly upset with China. They were concerned for her, but they weren't angry in the right manner. They didn't seem to care as much as they should have about how significantly she had failed her responsibility.
Jeremy was just insane, how could he take a living, breathing child and look at it in the face before throwing it into a dumpster to never see the kid again. It was his daughter, even as unwanted as the child was, didn't he have some sort of respect for the child and for life and the meaning of life? Didn't he feel any pull of obligation?
By then end of the short story, it was clear that China and Jeremy had lost everything, including their sanity. They were in an immature and unhealthy relationship, where apparently they couldn't talk openly about sex, clinics, what they would do if a China ever did become pregnant. They were school smart, but as far as life knowledge goes, they were children playing privileged adults from their favorite movies. When the events didn't fit the script, they didn't know what to do.
I think one aspect of the short story is where Jeremy talks about how China is selfish and used to getting her way and now he sees and resents her for it. I want to laugh in his face at that statement. She's selfish and childish, what about him? Is he any better? Does act any differently? He should have insisted that she someone to either get an abortion or an adoption. He should have known that not talking about it won't make the baby go away. One can't dispose of a living creature as one can dispose of trash. Jeremy should have used China's fear of exposure to his advantage and threatened to tell everyone about her pregnancy if she did not get an abortion or if she did not come to a realistic plan about what to do.
Their love is a twisted immature love where the two look to the other to support and keep themselves safe. They don't really love each other so much as go through the motions. I think Jeremy might have cared for China as a friend cares for one another, but I think what he liked best about China was the sex in their relationship. As for China, she was finding a man to wave around and show how perfect and how much better than other girls she was. She was obsessed with Jeremy and didn't know what to do or think without him by her side. Her obsession is unhealthy and part of what drives her crazy by the end of this short story.