Overcoming the Fire
In Susan Perabo’s short story, “Some Say the World,” fire is the most prominent element in the lives of the story’s three main characters: the daughter, the mother, and Mr. Arnette. Each of their lives is controlled and affected by the daughter’s obsession with fire. The fire is an essential part of the daughter’s life; she uses fire as a way to gain attention, deal with abandonment, feel alive and needed, and fill a maternal void. The fire has taken on its own life to her. By the end of the story, we see that she is able to let go of her obsession with fire because she finally has a parental figure in her life to give her the love and attention that she had always longed for. For the title, Perabo chooses a line from a Robert Frost poem about fire and ice. Before the story ever begins, fire is assumed from the title, “Some Say the World.” As we begin to read, our suspicion of fire is confirmed in the first sentence; in the first line where the daughter states, “There is a fire in my heart” (Perabo 198). This metaphorical fire that the daughter is speaking of is the emotional turmoil in her heart; the fire from a lack of attention and substantial abandonment issues. The first mention of fire is when the daughter was in sixth grade; this is also when she first became aware of her parents’ affair. With her father not having seen her since she was five and her mother leaving her alone to have an affair with the father that abandoned them, this created a feeling of being abandoned by both parents, especially with all of her mother’s moods being dependent upon her father’s moods. The fire started as her outlet for her feelings of abandonment and became an unhealthy obsession to deal with her issues. For example, “They have met every Monday in the same motel since I was in the sixth grade and playing with lighters under my covers after bedtime” (Perabo 199). While her parents had their metaphorical fire, she began her love for literal fire....
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