(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

Developed through the literary device of dramatic monologue, this story presents virtually no exposition and little recognizable plot. The reader must wait patiently for tidbits of information while wading through the inane rambling utterances of a protagonist who is obviously speaking to a male not directly involved in the story.

Estelle, the narrator, undertakes her quixotic wanderings by relating an incident that took place earlier in the week. During her lunch breaks at work, she customarily spends time with her office mates—Sondra, Chrissy, and Greta—playing bridge, delving into office gossip, and commenting on the world as they see it. On this particular day their game is interrupted by a more serious matter when Chrissy alludes to a magazine article she is reading about the rape fantasies of women.

As the co-workers take turns sharing their ideas on the topic, Estelle grows more critical not only of their perceptions of rape and rapists but also of each of the other women. She appears to be unaware, however, that through her derogatory descriptions of them, she is disclosing her own underlying insecurity, envy, and frustration.

After recapping her version of the remembered conversation, Estelle launches into the particulars of her own fantasies and it is at this point that the character becomes more fully rounded. She seems convinced—or is attempting to convince her current implied listener—that she is capable of...

(The entire section is 505 words.)


(Short Stories for Students)

The first-person narrator of "Rape Fantasies" is Estelle, a young office worker who notes how popular the topic of rape has become in women's...

(The entire section is 739 words.)