Kay Boyle's Astronomer's Wife

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Astronomer’s Wife
Plot Summary
Kay Boyle’s “The Astronomer’s Wife” is a brief story about a women’s dissatisfaction with her husband and her life. It Begins with Mrs. Katherine Ames waking up in her villa. She called for her maidservant to bring her some coffee as she begun to think about her husband, the astronomer. The maidservant then interrupted her thinking by telling her that the plumber had arrived. Mrs. Ames repeated herself, “I am Mrs. Ames… I am Mrs. Ames” to call for the plumber. She showed the plumber to a room that has flooded. The plumber examines the flooded room and remarked that it was the “soil line” was responsible for the plugged drain.

While the plumber headed outside to look at the pipes, the astronomer yelled at his wife that “There’s a problem worthy of your mettle!” as he is still on his bed. Mrs. Ames proceeded outside to the plumber and where he noted that the drains are “big enough for a man to stand upright in them”. Though, Mrs. Ames wasn’t paying any attention because she was still thinking about her husband’s thoughts and the things that he did to make her sad.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Ames then looked at the plumber and noticed that he is looking “up in her face”. She noticed several physical characteristics about the plumber, “hair as light as gold, lean cheeks, rugged bones, firm and clean flesh.” She began to think about the differences between the plumber and the astronomer, a men who descend and men who go up. Suddenly, everything about the plumber became appealing to her, and she continued to think about the dissatisfaction of her husband. At the end of the story, Mrs. Ames followed the plumber into the drainpipes.

Mrs. Ames is the main character of the story. She is married to an astronomer who is a distant and overly interested in abstract things that had caused her to feel dissatisfaction of him. She is the astronomer’s only link in the story, but she means a little to him. So such a long time she hadn’t...
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