A Simple Exchange of Niceties

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A simple exchange of niceties
Joanne Fedler, 2007

“Perhaps the truth depends on a walk around the lake”, Wallace Stevens. This is exactly what the whole story, A simple exchange of niceties by Joanne Fedler, is about. Our narrator makes everything depend on how the lake and the bench defineher. Our narrator is a pregnant girl, who has her favorite spot in the park. Here she likes to sit and think, just being herself.

Our narrator is a first-person narrator, which means that it is her story being told. She is going to have an abortion in nine days time. She does not want to keep the baby, because she has a bad relationship with her mother. She might have been abandoned as a child, and her mother maybe would not spend time on her. Page 10, line 101; “She would have exchanged me for a week’s holiday at a three-star resort… not that anyone was offering… but if they had”. Here she starts doubt that her mother would actually do that to her. At the bench, which she considers her very own, a woman also likes to sit. The woman also sees the bench as her very own, a free-place from every exhausting thing in life. When our narrator and the woman first meet, our narrator is smoking. She has just been told that she could get it “scraped out of her” in nine days time. The woman makes our narrator all panicking, because she remindher of her old nanny, who died ten years ago, but had a soft spot for her. The woman, , makes our narrator feel safe and warm. Even though she is a stranger, there is something about her that our narrator can recognize. Our narrator might even feel complete when the woman is sitting on her bench with her. Our narrator is dealing with low self-esteem, which shows in her way of expressing herself. For example, our narrator’s hairdresser, Barbie, saysthat our narrator looks like a trashy whore, and our narrator just adapt to it. She has no meaning of her own.

She has no idea of what emotional love is. The only love she feels is when she is...
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