(Short Stories for Students)

Carrie is Louise’s college friend and roommate. She has an unhappy home life—her parents fight and will likely divorce—and she is prone to fits of depression. Carrie urges Louise to go on a diet, and she does everything in her power to help Louise. She proves to be a compassionate and understanding friend.

Joan is one of Louise’s high school friends.

Louise is the protagonist of the story. As a young girl, she gains weight and remains overweight until college. Under pressure from her mother, Louise soon develops the habit of eating secretly, a habit that she considers to be ‘‘insular and destructive.’’

At college, Louise becomes good friends with her roommate, Carrie. With Carrie’s support, Louise sheds seventy pounds in her senior year in college. Yet with the weight loss, Louise feels like she is shedding more than fat—she is losing part of who she is.

Louise maintains her new body for several years, long enough to marry a young lawyer and have a baby. The emptiness of her life prompts Louise to overeat again. This time, however, she does not eat in secret. She accepts—and wants Richard to accept—that she is a fat girl. Soon, she has regained much of the weight she lost years ago. Even though this means she may lose Richard, she feels she has regained her identity.

Louise’s Father
Louise’s father is an...

(The entire section is 459 words.)