Short Fiction - Goodman's AmLit discussion

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Themes in the Fat Girl

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message 1: by Max (new)

Max Wu | 6 comments I think that the most important theme that supported the plot was appearance. At first, Louise was fat and accepted her fat identity, since she "fascinated by fat actresses." (Dubus 158). Then she got rid of her fat and became satisfied when her parents commented that "[Louise is] so beautiful." (Dubus 167). At last, Louise reverted back to the fat Louise, while Richard argued with her "every day," and may even leave her. (Dubus 171).


message 2: by Jun (new)

Jun Kim | 7 comments I think you are contradicting yourself when you say that she was satisfied when your parents commented that "Louise is so beautiful" (167). Louise never really cared about her appearance of being fat; rather, it actually was other people that judged her based on her appearance. The true theme of this story lies on her happiness after she satisfies her desire to eat more, not the appearance. Therefore, what you say, I think, is a bit flawed.


message 3: by Jay (new)

Jay Goodman | 9 comments Mod
It's a good point. Is her identity tied more to her appearance, or to her own "happiness"? And what does she sacrifice for this happiness? And does it make her happy? Lots going on here.


message 4: by Max (new)

Max Wu | 6 comments Jun wrote: "I think you are contradicting yourself when you say that she was satisfied when your parents commented that "Louise is so beautiful" (167). Louise never really cared about her appearance of being f..."

I think that you are right about me confusing others' reaction on Louise and her own view on her obesity. But I think that the theme that connects the whole plot is appearance, and this theme evolves with the theme happiness


message 5: by Jay (new)

Jay Goodman | 9 comments Mod
I agree that both themes are relevant to both her identity as well as to each other. Do our own feelings of her appearance interfere with how we interpret the story? Do we believe in her happiness at the end, or are we like everyone else who believes she'd be happier if she better conformed for sociey's expectations of her?


message 6: by Jun (new)

Jun Kim | 7 comments I think our feelings of her appearance of being skinny really affected how we interpret the story. In Asia, especially, we tend to favor girls that are skinny; therefore, we are thinking that because she is fat and other people's expectation is to be skinny, she must be unhappy. However, in cultures that believe obesity is rather a positive trait that represents wealth, their perspective on this story will be very different.

In that sense, our perception of ideal appearance of a girl interfered with our understanding.


message 7: by Jay (new)

Jay Goodman | 9 comments Mod
Jun wrote: "I think our feelings of her appearance of being skinny really affected how we interpret the story. In Asia, especially, we tend to favor girls that are skinny; therefore, we are thinking that becau..."

How many of these cultures still exist? This raises a whole other interesting point about world standards of beauty and how they're created and how they're defined. See, this is how discussions snowball and build.


message 8: by Jun (new)

Jun Kim | 7 comments Jay wrote: "Jun wrote: "I think our feelings of her appearance of being skinny really affected how we interpret the story. In Asia, especially, we tend to favor girls that are skinny; therefore, we are thinkin..."

It exists in North Korea for sure. I think in many of the countries that are poor, this is a common perception they hold.


message 9: by Angel (new)

Angel Wang | 4 comments Jun wrote: "I think our feelings of her appearance of being skinny really affected how we interpret the story. In Asia, especially, we tend to favor girls that are skinny; therefore, we are thinking that becau..."

I agree with this idea, especially in ancient tribe, female who is fat represents they are able to give birth to many kids, it means power and wealth because they need more labor in Paleolithic period, so that some sculpture in ancient times female usually looks extremely fat and people's aesthetic on female is completely different than today.
Also, when I read close to the end of this story, I also think that after Louise become skinny she will have a better life and it is a happy ending, however, at last, she returned to her original life by eating more candies and chocolate. That is an unpredicted ending for all of the readers. This ending also reflects author's attitude of obesity's relationship with identity.


message 10: by Jay (new)

Jay Goodman | 9 comments Mod
Angel wrote: "Jun wrote: "I think our feelings of her appearance of being skinny really affected how we interpret the story. In Asia, especially, we tend to favor girls that are skinny; therefore, we are thinkin..."

So what is he saying about obesity and identity? And is it limited to obesity?


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