Themes and Meanings

(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

The central theme of Lordan’s magical story is the mystery of the other. The premise of the parable is that often one spends one’s life focused on ordinary, everyday things and never sees the special magic of the person with whom one lives. Ann’s life often seems endless and perverse to her, designed to keep her from finding out about Warren; she has felt this great excitement the first time she saw him transformed and knows it is an excitement that ordinary living has kept pushing aside. Before it happened the first time, she knew some things about Warren—that he was fussy about his eggs, that he would always sleep on the side away from the wall, and that he got corns on his left foot and not on his right. However, when she first sees him illuminated, he is transformed from the ordinary to the extraordinary, and she feels something like a “deep memory” about the magical transformation.

After the vision, Ann’s life goes back to its normal rhythm. In some way, she is glad the vision fades and the “real” Warren returns. When their daughter is born, she thinks these are good “ordinary” years—a wholesome, sturdy, serious time. However, when she sees the vision of Warren again, this time doing somersaults on the grass, she feels triumphant and breathless because he seems released from the everyday like a childlike creature.

Ann and Warren’s everyday life is broken up again by tragedy, the death of their child, which leaves...

(The entire section is 426 words.)