Showing 61 - 70 of 72 annotations contributed by Donley, Carol

The Traveler

Gilchrist, Ellen

Last Updated: Jan-31-1997
Annotated by:
Donley, Carol

Primary Category: Literature / Fiction

Genre: Short Story

Summary:

An overweight, young teenager whose mother is having a nervous breakdown, and whose father doesn't know what to do, is invited to spend the summer with her cousin in Mississippi. Through telling lies about her background, she works her way into popularity on her cousin's coattails. Then a boyfriend tells her she should lose weight, and she pretends there is something wrong with her thyroid. Still, she jumps at the challenge of swimming across the lake (five miles) with him, which she accomplishes to great applause, but when she gets back, her parents are there to take her home. Back in Indiana, she tries to keep the glow of the summer dream.

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When

Williams, C. K. (Charles Kenneth)

Last Updated: Jan-28-1997

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

A wonderful poem about an old, dying man recognizing he is dying before any one else in the family will admit it. He wants them to help him die--a kind of family consensus on euthanasia, which he seems to control. After much family discussion, they agree to help him by giving him enough pills to "put him to sleep." He jokes with his family as they assist his dying: "On the day it would happen, the old man would be funny again: wolfing down handfuls of pills, 'I know this'll upset my stomach,' he'd say."

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Disappearing

Wood, Monica

Last Updated: Jan-28-1997
Annotated by:
Donley, Carol

Primary Category: Literature / Fiction

Genre: Short Story

Summary:

The narrator starts out at 300 plus pounds (disgusted with herself and remote from her husband). She takes swimming lessons and gradually acquires confidence in herself as she loses weight and inches. She sometimes refuses sex with her husband, starts to stand up for herself. But her swimming and diet become obsessive; she continues to lose weight and wants to disappear.

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Poison

Coulehan, Jack

Last Updated: Aug-21-1996
Annotated by:
Donley, Carol

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

The narrator of this poem is the father who is dying. He takes all kinds of pills in different colors which he identifies, perhaps correctly, as poisons. He knows he is dying and so does his son, who brings him his medicine and "sees poison in my eyes." The last few lines are especially touching: "He wants to take my hand, but he's / afraid. That's two of us. / For heart I take a white one once."

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Annotated by:
Donley, Carol

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

This remarkable poem notes the contrast between the mechanical, technologically manipulated heart today (without faith or spirit) and the mysterious, spirit-creating heart of Riverius. In the days of Riverius, the heart created spirit which "descended like dew" into the body and "ascended like steam" into the head--"how souls and bodies blended!" But now all mystery and spirit are gone. Cadaver-cutting scientists made an ox of the heart which pumps "the blood in dispirited circles" (note the wonderful use of "dispirited").

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The Pull

Olds, Sharon

Last Updated: Jun-06-1996
Annotated by:
Donley, Carol

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

The narrator of this poem seems to be starving herself to death to be with her father who has died recently. She talks of " . . . flirting with my father, / his cadaver the only body this thin / I have seen--I am walking around like his corpse . . . . " Her eating disorder may be a form of grieving. She has lost her will to live.

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When Fat Girls Dream

Haddaway, J. L.

Last Updated: May-23-1996
Annotated by:
Donley, Carol

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

The poem says fat girls don’t dream they are Marilyn Monroe; instead their dreams are "much smaller: a dance with a man not a blind drunk, a folding chair that won’t cringe . . . . " Or perhaps they can step "into the arms of a man with Ruben’s eyes."

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The Song the Dwarf Sings

Rilke, Rainer Maria

Last Updated: May-23-1996
Annotated by:
Donley, Carol

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

This sad poem, in the dwarf’s voice, describes the pain of having "crooked blood" and hands that "hop around sluggishly / like toads after a rain." The dwarf wonders why God doesn’t just throw him out on the dump because his body is so distorted and worn out.

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Small Man

Hirsch, Eugene

Last Updated: Apr-16-1996
Annotated by:
Donley, Carol

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

A small man challenges the popular misconception that he is too small to give women love.

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The Meal

Olds, Sharon

Last Updated: Apr-16-1996
Annotated by:
Donley, Carol

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

This poem is narrated by a school girl watching her anorexic mother force herself to eat cottage cheese so she can stay alive for her daughter. Apparently the mother's mother has also died young (at age twenty or so), and this mother at forty has no will to live, but forces herself to survive for the sake of her child.

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