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The "Blank"

In: English and Literature

Submitted By anonymouse
Words 1117
Pages 5
Analysis of Corey Campbell, “Pool”, a short story, 2009

The short story, Pool, is written in 2009 by the author, Corey Campbell. We follow our main character, Darla, who is in a relationship with a man by the name Jon. The story plays out at the house of Trevor and Mandy, who are married.

Darla is a very humble woman. There are various scenarios to prove this. (Line 73) ”Sorry(...)I did not mean to disturb you”, (line 123) ”It’s OK, I can sit out”. There are many more.

The night before, the condom split. The next morning they go out to get a morning-after pill (line 16, ”Their condom split the night before, so they'd spend the morning going to two different Rite Aids to get the morning-after pill”.) This shows that Darla does not wish to have a child. When Darla is offered a sip from Jon's beer, she refuses. The pill advices that she does not drink any alcohol. The package states the success rate is 99%, yet Darla does not take any risks. She tries to make fun of herself as a mother (line 80,”I'd be horrible at it. I would probably start drinking. I know I would (...) Just kidding”) because the idea of her becoming a mother is, maybe, not something she wants to consider. She seems to fear having a child.
Having a child means that one must open up to the real world. One must develop as a human being. One must no longer be narrow-minded; in the sense that one cannot see beyond their own benefits in any given situation. (Line 158) ”It all changes with a kid”. Darla is not portrayed as a person ready to face the real world. She does not see the bigger picture (line 160,”I know,” she said but she really didn't (...) Darla knew the basic pattern of sleepless nights, of loving something more than anything else. It always sounded impossible to her.”). Having a child is also a huge commitment. Darla does not possess a will to commit to things. Darla states that their relationship will not last (line 13,”Darla had realized earlier in the car that it was not going to last”). This shows her unwillingness to find a sustainable future relationship, which would require her to become committed. Darla is therefore a very insecure person.

Darla is a humble woman who fears reality. She is also in a relationship with a man named Jon.

Darla and Jon have been in a relationship for just under a year (line 10,”Darla and Jon had been together just under a year”). The relationship is very immature. They were swimming naked and having sex on a couch covered in dog hair, while housesitting (line 66,”...swimming naked and then having sex on a couch covered in dog hair”). They do not respect the house owner’s properties.

Jon is very immature compared to Darla. When the pill is bought, Jon decides to go to an expensive restaurant with Darla which he can barely afford. He casually begins eating while Darla swallows the first pill (line 18,”For lunch Jon had taken Darla to a Belgian restaurant (…) much too expensive for him. She let him eat his mussels while she swallow the first pill at the bathroom sink”). He fails to realize that he might potentially become a father. That will require a lot of money.
Another incident, where Jon's immaturity is highlighted, is when Jon is drinking his third or fourth beer. This leaves Darla with the responsibility to get them home (line 99,”Jon was on his next beer, which was either number three or four. Darla never counted but just knew that later she would be the one driving”). Darla is unhappy (line 138,)”She thought of quicksand – if she were being dragged under, Jon would probably just stay there and give the same shrug”. In other words, she states that he will not do anything if she is about to die (a clear sign of unhappiness). This way she also generalizes about Jon.

Darla also states that their relationship will not last (line 13,”Darla had realized earlier in the car that it was not going to last”).

The relationship is very toxic. The nature of the relationship is very immature. Darla is unhappy and does not believe in the relationship.

In Trevor and Mandy’s living room, Darla finds many pictures of a child (page 1, line 1-2, ”She counted more than 64 photos of the same child on the walls, shelves and piano”). This shows that Trevor and Mandy’s focus is their child, which means that there is no love or friendship between them. They are only here for the child.
The neighborhood is filled with car thieves and the houses are guarded by iron fences (line 4-6,”The couple had set up house in the Valley, in a neighborhood of small houses, many guarded by iron fences.”). The chain link gate on the fence has patches of dirt where dogs had tried to tunnel out (line 124-125,”She leaned back and looked at the chain link gate on the fence, the patches of dirt where the dogs had tried to tunnel out.”). The iron fences are a metaphor for the bars in a prison. This makes the neighborhood seem like a prison.

The short story ends in Trevor and Mandy’s bedroom. Darla begins asking Trevor about his marriage. She asks Trevor if he likes being married. He does not always like it (line).
Darla tries on Mandy’s swimsuit. It does not fit her, but she does not care (line). When she tries on the swimsuit, she also tries putting on Mandy’s life. When the swimsuit does not fit Darla, she recognizes that Mandy’s life does not fit her.

The main theme of this short story is about identity search. Darla realizes that she might want to be a part of Jon and the immature life. This is because she knows their relationship will not last. She tries something different. She explores the life of a person with a partner and family by observing Trevor and Mandy.
The setting shows that the married and mature couple only have an interest in their child. Their house feels like a prison, making the life of Trevor and Mandy seem like a prison. Towards the end, she directly asks Trevor, instead of observing, if he is happy. He replies no. She finally tries on Mandy’s swimsuit. It does not fit. This gives Darla the final confirmation that the life of Mandy, a married and mature woman with a child, is not something for her.…...

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