Last Updated on August 7, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 539
Lauren Groff's Florida is a collection of 11 stories that explore the experiences of characters from, or currently living in, the American state of the book's title. Florida, as it's depicted here, is full of threats, from dangerous animals like alligators and snakes to human threats like neglectful family members and stalkers.
As observed by Lisa Zeidner in a review of the collection for the Washington Post,
Groff is most fascinated by the fear itself. Her morose protagonists drink too much wine as they fret about everything from global warming to the daily hazards confronting their vulnerable children.
Because the book features multiple characters and stories, in this response I will focus on just a few of the important characters portrayed in Florida.
The lonely woman featured in "Eyewall":
One of the collection's characters is a woman who lives mostly in isolation, excluding the company of her chickens. Unfortunately, Florida is often subject to unpredictable and extreme weather. A storm strikes, throwing the chickens the woman depends on emotionally into harm's way. A male neighbor attempts to convince the character to leave with him to avoid harm, but she refuses. Later, she watches as he becomes a victim of the storm, washed off the road as he attempts to flee. This quote from the story expresses the character's anxiety as she's caught in the middle of the storm:
My best laying hen was scraped from under the house and slid in a horrifying diagonal across the window. For a moment, we were eye to lizardy eye. I took a breath. The glass fogged, and when it cleared, my hen had blown away.
Caught up in the chaos, the chicken-keeper hallucinates. Florida's turbulent weather can be seen as reflecting her sense of internal disorder.
The mother in "The Midnight Zone":
In the story "The Midnight Zone," a young mother is at a holiday cabin with her two young children. This cabin is described as being "so far from humanity in all that Florida waste." When she tries to change a lightbulb, an accident occurs: she splits her head open. The woman's husband...
(The entire section contains 539 words.)
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