Wood, Monica

Primary Category: Literature / Fiction

Genre: Short Story

Annotated by:
Donley, Carol
  • Date of entry: Jan-28-1997


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.


This short story, in the voice of a woman who's lost probably 200 pounds, traces her evolution from an obese woman without self-respect to a skeletal woman who supposedly is in control of her life, but is essentially suicidal. The opening scene of mechanical, indifferent sex immediately introduces that theme. Clearly a sexual frustration has been involved in the narrator's obesity. When her husband finally leaves her alone, she is gaunt--her secret for making him stop having sex with her. She seems depressed and wants to vanish in the water.

Primary Source

The Tyranny of the Normal


Kent State Univ.Press

Place Published

Kent, Ohio




Carol Donley & Sheryl Buckley

Page Count