The Traveler

Gilchrist, Ellen

Primary Category: Literature / Fiction

Genre: Short Story

Annotated by:
Donley, Carol
  • Date of entry: Jan-31-1997


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.


Although LeLe is not obese, she is overweight and does eat compulsively, perhaps to assuage some hungers she has for love. In any case she is trying to figure out who she is as she matures, and that question is complicated by her mother's nervous breakdown and the absence of a mother figure when she visits Mississippi.

Primary Source

In the Land of Dreamy Dreams


Little, Brown

Place Published




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