The Fat Girl Analysis

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The short story by Andre Dubus follows Louise from age nine up until the time she becomes a mother. It gives insight to the damage that can be done when loved ones force negative body images on young children. Louise’s mother starts her on a self-destructive path, which Louise will never overcome and continually affects her life. This is reinforced by the similar opinions of her relatives and friends who make her feel that she will only be truly loved if she is thin. The prevalent theme of Dubus’ “The Fat Girl” is the destructive way society views food addiction and how it adversely affects women.

The author Andre Dubus takes the reader inside the life of a young child whose mother has convinced her that she was destined to become heavy. This becomes apparent when her mother remarks, “You must start watching what you eat, her mother would say. I can see you have my metabolism” (134). The mother unwittingly thrusts her own negative food issues onto her child. She further perpetuates this eating disorder by including her child on a strict diet that she herself adheres to. In order not to displease her mother, but still satisfy her hunger, Louise begins sneaking food when no one is watching. This eventually leads to hoarding food such as the hidden candy, which she will later eat alone in her bed in the dark.

The father is introduced at the beginning of the story and portrayed by Dubus as loving and yet misguided. This is shown when
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