"Sleeveless" by Joy Brozek

Essay by alias33 May 2005

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What is the main idea or theme of this story?

This is an introduction, the theme is at the end. If you prefer to be lazy, skip the introduction. I prefer you read it though, it helps you understand the theme.

Jenny and Lisha loved the garden, the dirt garden where they used to play when they were children. But they grew up, taking the garden into themselves. An internal garden. They both became interested in boys. And as Lisha put it, "Teenagers are lust automobiles." Jenny soon became pregnant. (the baby is a flower, metaphor used in the book) And after a D.I.Y abortion with the help of Lisha, the flower became a fist. (Lisha refers to the unborn baby as a fist, as I think of it, a dead flower wilts and drys, curls up like fingers on a fist) After the botched abortion her sister dies of complications and Lisha gets accused, and alienated for her sisters death.

The fingers were Lisha's conscious. They were always with her, caressing her, choking her, drilling into her teeth. (I believe the fingers stood for the unborn baby, and the guilt she felt for assisting with its death. She write later in the book of her sisters child, whom doesn't really exist. She calls him "little guy butterfly." She describes him as perfection. He is crippled, and Jenny is still alive. Her son intentionally falls to get her attention. She pays none. As though she didn't want him, which in real life she didn't. Lisha becomes his protector. Anger: towards her sister for wanting the abortion, for dying. Guilt: for helping with the abortion, for killing the baby) Sometimes the fingers go away. Like when she's cutting, which she calls skin design. She uses it as an...

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