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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Analyzing "Anatomy of Desire"

Ashley Adams
Blog Option 5

When I first opened the anthology to read this story for homework, I had not idea what to expect. The title does not give any indication of how graphic this story really is. Reading it, you are immediately thrust into the story of a soldier who has had his skin taken off. The author leaves little to the imagination. Usually having an author give so many details is a good thing. It allows you to picture what they were picturing in their minds when they wrote the story. This particular story, however less details would have been better. “He would walk around on his skinned feet, leaving bloody footprints up and down the corridors, look for somebody to love him” (L' Heureux 339). We are also given a very descriptive metaphor comparing his physical state to a food item. “He was raw, he was meat…” (L'Heureux 339). Even typing these quotes right now, I feel a bit squeamish. I also felt bad for Hanley at the beginning of the story. This soldier was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, and had this horrible event done to him. Reading more of the story though, I begin to not feel as sorry for him. He does the exact same thing as his tormentor to a woman who only wants to help him. Now it can be argued that she willing let him do this to her, but that’s a conversation for another day.
          I would give this story 3 stars out of 5. While I did not like the detailed descriptions of Hanley, the rest of the story was interesting to me. The whole concept of Hanley wanting someone to possess him, to love him and the quote, “there can be no possession, only desire” really spoke to me and got me to thinking (L' Heureux 343). We all have desires, and how we act on these desires, I feel shows what kind of person we are. I would not recommend it to anyone that does not like gory details, but if they don’t bother you, I would recommend you give it a read.

L' Heureux, John. “The Anatomy of Desire.” American Gothic Tales. Ed. Joyce Carol Oates. New York: The Penguin Group. 339-343. Print.

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