The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

The narrator, David Kepesh, recounts the changes that occurred in his life in the preceding two years, beginning with the peculiar sensations he felt in his penis. These sensations of increased sensitivity, accompanied by increased sexual desire, led to the change that took place between midnight and 4 a.m. on February 18, 1971. Kepesh became a six-foot, 155-pound human female breast. The novella chronicles Kepesh’s responses to his condition, which vary from acceptance to a conviction that he has become mad.

The novella is divided into five sections. In the first, Kepesh describes his “symptoms” before the change from man to mammary. He details his sexual feelings for Claire, the twenty-five-year-old woman he has been seeing for three years. The cooling of his desire for her during the past year changed right before his transformation: He felt excruciatingly sensitive while making love to her, but only because his penis was becoming a nipple and areola and the rest of his body was becoming a huge breast disconnected from any human form. Up to this point, Kepesh’s life had been stable for the first time in more than a decade, and his relationship with Claire provided warmth and security without “the accompanying burden of dependence, or the grinding boredom” of most marriages with which he was familiar. That comfort, however, vanished with his metamorphosis.

In the second section, Kepesh is tended to...

(The entire section is 577 words.)