Welcome | Frequently Asked Questions | Update | Bibliography | Links | Update Archive | tcboyle.com

All About 
Resource Center

Frequently Asked Questions
Biographical Info
Short Stories
Book Reviews by TCB
Film & Video
Audio Files & Recordings
Critical Views
Foreign Language Editions
Online Resources
Odds & Ends
Readings & Tour Dates
Reader Questions/Interpretations
- - - - -

Search this site or the web   powered by FreeFind

Site searchWeb search

Site MapWhat's New

Amazon Search

First published in The Atlantic 261 (February 1988): 53-9.

Contemporary Literary Criticism, volume(s) 90:48.
Short Story Criticism, volume(s) 16:153, 155.

Posted by Charles S. on May 07, 2000:

I recently read this story and was analyizing the story, but I'm fustrated and confused with the story's use of water imagery? what does this tell us? If you could explain this story to me briefly that would be helpful, It's been a week since I've read it and I'm deperate to find out whether or not this water represents insanity or not? Thanks in advance.
Charles S., risenshine@sprint.ca 

Posted by TCB on May 12, 2000:

Dear Charles S.: As you may know, it's against the rules for me to interpret my own stories. I hope others out there will chime in. TCB.

Posted by Matthew Healy on May 13, 2000:

I'm no expert at analyzing literature, but it seems to me that the water is a symbol for the women's lives in this story. Muriel is washing away the grief of her life in a tangible way, drowning away her sorrow if you will, and that touches Meg's life.  In the end Meg too, is tempted to turn on the water and wash her life away, because Sonny is a precursor to Monty, and Meg recognizes this in some fashion. When Muriel drowns away the material reminders of her life with Monty it inspires Meg to do the same. So the water becomes a very positive, cleansing affimation of the female perspective of the story. In any case, right or wrong, this was my read on the story. Hope it helps.
- - - - -
Posted by sorehand on September 22, 2000:

In Reply to: Sinking House? posted by brynn on September 22, 2000 at 11:46:24:

What is Sinking House about? Making choices with your life. The unfortunate compromises we can make between the sexes. Where the future meets the past(Muriel could be the future of Meg. Both women having trouble with seemingly arrogant and stubborn men). 


Posted by TCB on September 23, 2000:

Dear Sorehand/Mic: Nice question, nice interpretation. Others want to weigh in? TCB. 

Posted by mary on September 23, 2000:

There are 2 classes of unhappy women- the compulsive eaters and the compulsive cleaners. Rather than scrubbing, Muriel just turned the water on and let her rip. It seemed to do a pretty good job of washing away the remnants of a pretty unhappy-sounding life. 

Posted by Matthew Healy on September 24, 2000:

What a clever response to the story! I tried dissecting it on an earlier response but lacked your brevity and wit. With all sincerity--no one line analysis could capture the story as you did. Congrats. 
- - - - -

© Copyright 2001, Sandye Utley

Last Page Update: 16 March 2001