Themes and Meanings

(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

“No Room for You, My Love” is a complex, even mysterious, story. The point of view, shifting subtly as it does, both reveals and hides the characters as well as the meanings. In a way, the two protagonists are as mysterious to the reader as the southern world is to them. That they are northerners in the South, especially Louisiana with its mixture of cultures that is so unlike the North, emphasizes the separateness of these two and the strangeness of their coming together.

Almost nothing of the woman’s life is revealed except in that moment at the beginning when she thinks of herself as being in love. Certainly the man guesses at some truth when he thinks she is having an affair, but the actual truth is hidden. The man’s relationship with his wife is presented only as mechanical facts in his memory, so that the reader cannot know how they really relate, except that there is a hint that the connection is without depth and intensity. However, the complexity and mystery of the story express its thematic subjects: What do we know of one another and how do we fit into the mystery of the world?

The two learn almost nothing factual in their journey. They do not know New Orleans. However, the Arabi intersection, from which they leave and to which they return, suggests the themes. The name calls up the mysterious and romantic “Araby” of the onetime American myth. However, nothing really happens as they travel into the delta land, into...

(The entire section is 421 words.)