Psychological Issues In Andre Dubus's The Fat Girl

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A common issue surrounding many people’s day to day lives is their weight. Does weight define us as our identity or is it just a way to characterize someone? Discussed in Andre Dubus’, “The Fat Girl,” he writes about a woman named Louise who is overly engulfed about her appearance to the point of it being a psychological issue. Her issues originate from the input of her mother’s thoughts and later on is overly pressed by her friend, then soon her husband. During the story, Louise misunderstands that her struggles and issues are not from her weight, but from her inner thoughts and mind caused by her inner group. Louise is overly focused on her appearance where it becomes such an issue, or an eating disorder, common in as many as 2-3% of adolescent…show more content…
Around their senior year, Carrie falls in love with a boy from Boston and that becomes her complete focus of her life. Because Carrie and Louise are such good friends, Carrie becomes concerned about Louise’s weight since she wants Louise to fall in love too. However, Carrie strongly believes that if Louise does not lose weight she will never find a man. Returning home from a trip to Boston Carrie approaches Louise saying, “I was thinking about when we graduate. What you’re going to do. What’s to become of you, I want you to be loved the way I love you. Louise, if I help you, really help you, will you go on a diet?” (Dubus 917). Although Carrie seems to really and truly love Louise, her motives are backwards implying that she will never be loved without losing weight. Written in Behaviour Research and Therapy, the journal address the influence of peer groups and body image by stating, “Sociocultural risk factors have also been implicated both theoretically and empirically in the development of body image and eating disturbances. Theoretical models have included the family, media and peers as important sociocultural sources of influence in eating problem.” Suggested by researchers is the correlation between peers influencing body image. When looking at those who struggle with body image issues there is a relationship with the ones who struggle and their friends having issues. Concerning Louise it is apparent that her closest, and only, friend has a psychological issue surrounding body image or else she would not make it such a point for Louise to go on an extremely strict diet. Through the starvation of Carrie’s diet, her eating disorder can now also be classified as anorexia nervosa, which is a disorder where one is overly concerned about their weight causing them to eat an particularly restricted diet with a deathly low calorie intake.
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