Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 333
The themes of Lauren Groff’s Florida, much like the themes of some of her other books, include that of being a woman and motherhood. Throughout the eleven short stories, Groff examines what it means to be both a woman and a mother through the lens of women and girls, as well as a young boy. In both “Ghosts and Empties” and “Yport,” a mother of two young children finds herself at the end of a day, exhausted and angry. She doesn’t “want to be a woman who yells, whose little children walk around with frozen, watchful faces.” Instead, she goes for a walk through her neighborhood in Northern Florida, looking in the windows of the neighbors she has come to know in this way. She sees their lives and she knows some of their stories. She feels their sadness and trials as a sort of reflection of her own. In both “Ghosts and Empties” and “Yport,” she is concerned about climate change. She loves her children and fears that their future is bleak, that they could be the last humans. She is overwhelmed by everything and feels the expectations that are placed on women and mothers acutely.
The theme of motherhood and worry is in “The Midnight Zone," when a mother with her two young sons falls off a stool and hits her head. She is concussed and asks her children to tell her stories to keep her awake, which they do by describing facts they’ve learned from TV. We feel her fear at her mortality.
In “Eyewall,” a woman tries to ride out a hurricane in her home after rejecting a neighbor’s offer to take her with him. While the neighbor is killed in the storm, the woman is confronted with the ghosts of three men from her past: an ex-boyfriend, her ex-husband, and her late father. This story examines some of the intricacies of being a woman by looking at the relationship between her and these men.