Summary (Masterplots II: Short Story Series, Revised Edition)
“Female Trouble” is told in the third person in a discursive narrative style. The plot, while straightforward, is relayed in a series of short vignettes that describe the drifter McBride’s encounters with the three women with whom he is simultaneously involved: Daisy, Martha, and Claire.
The story opens in February with McBride visiting his former girlfriend, Daisy, a native New Yorker who is now a patient at the Pima County psychiatric hospital in Tucson, Arizona, following a breakdown. Visiting her disturbs both Daisy and McBride, who reflects on their past relationship, especially their sexual encounters and his inability to deal with her and with women in general.
Following his visit, McBride returns to his home, which is the house of his current girlfriend, Martha, who works for the accident victim’s report section of the police department and is also a research assistant who interviews rape victims for a university research project. In contrast to Daisy, the thirty-six-year-old Martha is a capable, artistic woman whom McBride believes “lived among the bizarre in order not to feel so bizarre herself, normal by comparison.” While they are talking, Martha’s neighbor, a transvestite whose name is Alberta, comes out of the house in full dress, and McBride comments on how much work it must take for a man to make himself up like that. Though he lives with Martha, McBride dreams of Daisy and moments of tenderness they shared. He...
(The entire section is 901 words.)
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