If we take a look at the main character DARPA, we discover that she is Son’s girlfriend. She is a young woman in her twenties and a bit older than Andy and Trove. DARPA is quite shy, and she doesn’t feel like showing herself in a swimsuit in front of the others: little later,” she said, knowing that she wouldn’t, that she hated others seeing her in her swimsuit. ” (11. 60-62). She is described as being slim and caring about her body, and what she puts in it: “She thought of the bright packages as bags of chemicals, pre-serving each other, as though they were something worth pre- Irving”. (II. 68-70).
She describes the snacks in Tremor’s and Maydays house like they are packages of chemicals. And because Jon takes her to a restaurant he can’t afford, we get the feeling that she is from another environment than Jon, Tremor and Andy. DARPA is very insecure about herself and her own abilities. Even though she finds it hard to visualize herself as a mother, she still has some thoughts about it: be horrible at it. I’d probably start drinking. I know I would. ” (l. 80) “She’d heard about it from friends (… ). It always sounded impossible to her. ” (11. 160-163). She doesn’t quite know what she wants.
She can’t see herself as Andy and she focuses on all the negative things about the house, even though Andy and Tremor has the life that most people wish for: worry. Your house is really nice. This is what people want” (l. 96) The relationship between DARPA and Jon has been going on for nearly a year, but they clearly have to different opinions about the relationship. Jon is very keen on including DARPA in the family, but DARPA realizes that the he isn’t the man for her: ‘What she liked best about him, DARPA had realized earlier in the car, was that it isn’t going to last, so she didn’t have to care that much really. ” (II. 1-13). They don’t talk a lot, and they seem quite awkward around each other. : ‘When she came back, they both pretended everything was normal, and turned up the radio loud once they hit the free-way’. (II. 21-22). DARPA needs comprehension and support from Jon, but he doesn’t feel her emotional needs: “Whenever she got very sad, which happened sometimes, Jon acted as if leaving her alone was the best thing. He said sadness made him feel helpless. ” (II. 139-141). It’s like there’s no love left, and when Andy tells DARPA that Jon is a good guy, DARPA Just walks outside, without answering: “Andy said, “Son’s a really good guy. DARPA nodded and walked back to the patio. ” (II. 97-98). Regarding the main theme of the story, the life as husband and wife and parent’s has a huge importance. DARPA notices every detail about Tremor and Maydays life together, but she is very critical. Even though she knows it’s the life that many wish for, she finds it very difficult seeing herself in that role – the role as a wife and a mother. But it’s also the life society expects you to live, and the theme of the story is therefore the society and the environment’s expectations regarding the “normal” life.
And the problems that can appear if you don’t fit the role that you are expected to seize. In the ending DARPA undresses herself in Tremor and M bedroom. The weird part is that she undresses herself in front of Tremor, who is sitting on the bed. She puts on Maydays swimsuit, and she doesn’t care about it being too big for her: “It didn’t fit her, but she didn’t care anymore. She looked into his face and said, “Let’s go” (II. 85-186). DARPA is experimenting with the roles. She takes a chance and her curiosity, about how it feels to be like Andy, is satisfied.
Suddenly she isn’t shy about her body, and it doesn’t matter that the swimsuit doesn’t fit her. This might be because DARPA after all wants to have a life like Andy, even though it’s not completely perfect. Or it might be because she accepts that the swimsuit, and thereby the role Andy has, doesn’t fit her. This gives her a feeling of freedom, because she doesn’t feel restricted by the role she is expected to seize. At last we will look at the setting. The story takes place in Tremor and Maydays house in the Valley.
The area is described as a place where thieves and young couples live, when they can’t afford anything else: “a neighborhood of small square houses, many guarded by iron fences, the homes of car thieves and newlyweds in their twenties still renting. ” (II. 5-6). Because the environment is described to us through Dare’s eyes, we don’t get a particular positive impression of it. There are dying plants (l. 79) and traces after dogs trying to dig under the fence (l. 125). All in all it’s not a positive impression of the setting.