Analysis Of "The Astronomer's Wife" By Kay Boyle

725 words - 3 pages

In the 'Astronomer's Wife' by Kay Boyle, something as simple as a conversation witha plumber about a stopped elbow is enough to trigger an awakening in Mrs. Katherine Ames.When Mrs. Ames realized that the plumber was talking about something she understood (thestopped elbow), she realized that her marital problems were not the result of a division betwwenthe sexes; instead, she realized that some men, like the plumber, are as practical as she is, andthat some other men, like her husband, scorn people like her because they are intellectuallyinclined. Previous to this discovery, Katherine did not realize that there were different kinds of men, andtherefore she did not realize that she and her husband were mismatched. Furthermore, inher awakening, Mrs. Ames also discovers that she, like the plumber, occupies as valuable aplace in society as the astronomer, for she does the 'dirty' work to free people like her husbandto have time to think and to discover.The scene in question takes place after Mrs. Ames has already noticed that the plumberhas a few physical characteristics that match her own (such as blond hair), and she is talkingto him as he descends into the earth. The scene begins immediately after the plumber says'I think something has stopped the elbow', because this phrase was one of the few things that aman has ever said that Mrs. Ames has understood. After the plumber has descended into the ground before the scene,Mrs. Ames is the only one left. She spends the entire duration of this scene sitting onthe grass, silently thinking and revealing her thoughts to the audience.During her course of thinking, Mrs. Ames makes the important discovery that there is awhole race of practical people like herself, men and women alike. She knew that 'when herhusband spoke of height, having no sense of it, she could not picture it nor hear', butstrangely enough, when another man who happened to be a plumer spoke of his work, 'madnessin a daily shape, as elbow stopped, she saw clearly and well'. Mrs Ames finally realized duringthese thoughts that these were two men with two different ways of life, and perhaps herway of life suited the plumber's more than the astronomer's, in that she...

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