Literary Analysis of "Gravity"

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Literary Analysis of “Gravity” by David Leavitt

The following pages will consist of a literary analysis of the short story presented by the author David Leavitt, which is taken from his book “A Place I’ve Never Been” (Nguyen, 2006). “Gravity” narrates the story of a boy with AIDS, whose life is slowly consuming like the wax of a lit candle. The author presents the reader with the crudity of enduring such disease mainly from the patient’s and his mother’s perspective. The underlying intention of David Leavitt is to educate the reader about the fragility of life and how important it is to live it fully and well. Its message is directed both to people who are undergoing some kind of disease and to people who are healthy since it represents the unpredictability of the future.

“Theo had a choice between a drug that would save his sight and a drug that would keep him alive, so he chose not to go blind” is the first sentence of the story. When reading it for the first time, I was shocked to see that someone would prefer to live less while being able to see than to live more and be blind. When reading the story for the second time though, the reader can extract from this sentence the importance of living your life fully. Theo chose quality over quantity. This first sentence also puts the reader into the perspective of a boy with AIDS, showing the kind of decisions AIDS patients may have to take. Decisions that are out of the ordinary and that no one would ever see themselves taking. The use of nouns such as “pills” and “injections” and adjectives such as “unpleasant” and “painful” already set the tone of a sad and gloomy reading.

The reading continues with a flashback of Theo remembering himself and his mother Sylvia going to a show together in New York. Back then, Theo’s eyesight was already bad, however, the author leaves it open for interpretation whether the boy was already infected with AIDS or not. Anyways, this passage also represents the pleasure that...
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