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A Simple Exchange of Niceties

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  • Pages: 4
  • Word count: 773
  • Category: Change

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What would you do if you had to make the decision to keep a baby or get an abortion? It is this decision the character in Joanne Fedler’s short story “A simple Exchange of Niceties” is so sure about that she have not included other than a boyfriend that did not love her. Through what she observes in the park, the women she meets and her mother she ends up revealing what she really needs.

The main character in the short story holds a negative opinion towards the other characters she meets or observes. She finds it rude if people do not consults her first when they interfere with her doings: “… if I’m already sitting there (the bench) and someone comes and sits down without even simple exchange of niceties … well, that’s just bad manners …”. The quote shows that the main character is a bit touchy when it involves her. She does not like to chit-chat, when she comes to the bench it is to relax: “Today, of all days, I needed to be alone on my bench”. But this day a girl came up to the bench and started to chit-chat. The girl was unable to have children.

And when the conversation ended it had changed the main character’s opinion a little. In the beginning of the story the main character does not have a lot of self-insight. She is selfish and only think about her own needs: “I know you’re not supposed to smoke when you’re pregnant, but fuck it … “. After she talked to the sterile girl she thinks about giving the girl her child. After the main character tells her mother that she is pregnant, and start receiving support from her mother she gets more certain of keeping the baby. The main character starts to have some feelings towards her child.

The bench reflect the main characters life. She sees the bench as hers. It has generous slats and an invitation that is never revoked. It is always there fore her and do not judge her. Unlike the main character’s mother that never has supported her. She describes she bench with human situations and feelings: “When I get to my bench and it’s empty, it’s as if I’ve been waited for. “.

It is the place she goes when she needs to think things through, and it is always there. She is possessive about the bench because it is her safety net. When she talks to the sterile girl and the girl says that it feels like it is her bench the main character sees it fate. The main character did not want kids and the girl would give anything in the word for child. And they felt the same about the bench.

The main theme in this short story is pregnancy; other themes are reflection, and the importance off being able to see what truly matters. Pregnancy will always be surrounded by problems. Some people cannot get pregnant because of medical conditions and other gets it by accident.

We learn to appreciate what we got, when we hear that the sterile girl would give anything to be pregnant. The idea of giving the child away is not that far from what the thinks of her own mother: “She would have exchanged me for a week’s holiday at a three-star resort … not that anyone was offering … but if they had … “. It is like throughout the short story as the baby grow bigger every day so does the main character. In the end she and her mother is laying at the hospital after the delivery feeling loved and meaningful.

The main characters language is in the start of the text aggressive. When she is talking about herself she mentions that her old boy friend and parole officer described her as cheap. She haves no self-confidence as a result of feeling like failing at everything in life. In the first part of the text an old lady fiddling with a plastic bag makes her irritated. Later in the text she becomes more caring the sterile girl and her haves a conversation where she listen and answers polite. In the end the main character visits the park to find the sterile girl. The short story contains spoken language there are many contractions throughout the text.

Pregnancy will in many situations result in a lot of doubt and insecurity defiantly when you have no support. But in the end there will always be someone there loves you if not your soul mate then your family.

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