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Andre Dubus “The Fat Girl” Essay

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Updated: Oct 29th, 2021

“The Fat Girl” written by Andre Dubus illustrates the main problem of modern civilization that is the problem of the overweight. The author used this theme to show the global problem of the culture not only in America but in the whole world. He managed to illustrate the inner fight of a little girl whose life is a constant resistance to society. Andre Dubus merely tried to concentrate on the inner world of Louise than on her body.

The basic theme of this short story is the interaction inside a person connected with a conflicting desire to eat and be in a good shape at the same time. The author underlined the idea that inner beauty is far more important than body showing Louise’s soul and richness of her world look. The main purpose of the author was to illustrate the sufferings of people who are treated differently because of their fat physical state.

The contrast of physical appearance is highlighted in the example of Louise, quite a fat girl, and her mother who is described as a slim and elegant women. Ironical statements of her mother concerning her weight are observed to illustrate the importance of physical form for her. To develop his ideas as to disclosing the main problem the author used a number of stylistic and literal devices. To increase the importance of Louise’s position Dubus used exaggeration – “Louise eyed the bread box, the pantry, the refrigerator”. (125) The author tried to compare Louise with her friends who were models of the time. Andre Dubus used a number of cognitive metaphors to show the liveliness and the importance of food for Louise.

The description of ideal forms of Louise brought her sufferings and inner instability. The author used a number of associated epithets to provide the reader with a detailed characterization of the society by which Louise was surrounded, “thin, flat-chested, gangling… Joan”. (126) The author stresses how generally accepted norms influenced her inner world and changed her perception of the environment.

Andre Dubus wanted to show that those who are treated differently in our society are always afraid to open their mind to close friends; they are constantly living in their own world. “Louise lived in a small city Louisiana” (129) The same is illustrated in the example of Louise whose friends though being very close never knew her. “She never eats…” (127) This hyperbole underlines that Louise never disclosed her real desires and tried to do everything secretly. Using cognitive metaphors Dubus made all inanimate things around Louise alive and having more power for her – “Its walls stopped watching her… she felt they were her friends”. (p.128)

Nevertheless, the main thing the author wanted to underline was the beauty of Louise’s soul which remained deep and kind with every passing year. To show this the author used imaginative metaphors – “they were (her eyes) indeed windows of a tender soul, a good heat”. (129) This idea is disclosed during the whole story underlining the significance of our inner world rather than physical appearance and form.

The state of being slim and tender for Louise is described as a negative moment of her life. The author argues that keeping a diet makes people nervous and irritable. That is why the period of Louise’s diet is described from the negative side and the author uses a lot of utterances with a negative connotation. “I hate it… it is terrible…” (132) Dubus stresses that it is not the most important goal of our life to be slim and look like all others, but society should perceive all people equally without taking into account their weight and beauty. Metaphorical utterances used in the story show that people should never pretend and hide from reality as it would bring no pleasure in life. “…she had taken the wrong train and arrived at a place where no one knew her and where she ought not to be…” (136)

Andre Dubus wanted to show that being pretended from reality and trying to meet the requirements of society can bring sufferings for the whole life. Sooner or later any person takes off his mask and shows his real personality. “Now her body was growing again…” (137) is an illustration of the author’s idea. The author stresses that the question of weight between Louise and Richard was centered, mostly for Richard. By her words, “I never knew how cruel you were” (138), the author illustrates the real values for Richard in their family. His attitude changed with the change of Louise’s body which resulted in disappointment and suffering.

To conclude the analysis of the text “The Fat Girl” it is important to note that the problem of overweight is really important in our society. But people should understand that it brings a lot of suffering and pain to those who have this problem.

To prove this the author raised this question in his short story and illustrated that our inner world and soul are far more important than physical appearance and form. It is clear from the analysis carried out that the protagonist of the story managed to live two lives – the life of being herself and an artificial life in which she strived to meet the requirements and rules of society. It was evident that sooner or later she would return to herself and begin to satisfy her needs. This story is very important from the cultural point of view as it shows the modern society and its values and helps to realize vivid mistakes in human relations.

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