The Shrinking Violet

Leana O'Keefe, Northeastern Illinois University

Amanda Goldblatt is the faculty sponsor of this project.

Description

The presentation of this piece of fiction will be performed orally, with no additional equipment necessary. The piece is expected to take around ten minutes, and certainly no longer than twelve. This short story, titled “The Shrinking Violet” is a contemporary tale which operates with respect to the traditions of Romantic and Gothic literature. The story centers on a woman, who has been living alone for a quite some time. In part because of this, she has an intense relationship to the objects in her home, nurturing entire realities that she shares with her inanimate objects. She develops an intense relationship to her neighbor, who she spies on while the neighbor gardens. Although her and the neighbor have never directly interacted, the woman becomes increasingly obsessive and bold. She begins to shift from watching her neighbor through her living room windows to various failed attempts at communication. Inevitably, the neighbor begins to notice the woman. Rather than reacting angrily, the neighbor is charmed. The two women strike up an elaborate signal-based communication, which they express with subtle changes, such as a moved curtain or crooked painting in the window. The woman experiences a crisis shortly after when her neighbor introduces a stranger to their dynamic. The neighbor seems to have a sexual relationship with the stranger. The woman must learn to grapple with her jealousy within the confines of her reality. How will her communication with her neighbor continue in the presence of the stranger? And what sort of changes, the woman’s biggest cause of anxiety, will the stranger bring? The narrative is a first-person story told from an extremely subjective, interior positioning. As a result, the incremental progress of the action becomes almost absurdist, warped by the narrator’s intense emotion. This is done with the purpose of conveying the nuances of the narrator’s depth of emotions and thought processes as she develops relationships to herself and others around her, animate or not. The project in an endeavor to redefine the normative romantic narrative and to challenge perspectives on romantic expectations, sexual identity in relation to the development of personality, and the effects of a solitary lifestyle.

 
Apr 19th, 12:00 AM

The Shrinking Violet

The presentation of this piece of fiction will be performed orally, with no additional equipment necessary. The piece is expected to take around ten minutes, and certainly no longer than twelve. This short story, titled “The Shrinking Violet” is a contemporary tale which operates with respect to the traditions of Romantic and Gothic literature. The story centers on a woman, who has been living alone for a quite some time. In part because of this, she has an intense relationship to the objects in her home, nurturing entire realities that she shares with her inanimate objects. She develops an intense relationship to her neighbor, who she spies on while the neighbor gardens. Although her and the neighbor have never directly interacted, the woman becomes increasingly obsessive and bold. She begins to shift from watching her neighbor through her living room windows to various failed attempts at communication. Inevitably, the neighbor begins to notice the woman. Rather than reacting angrily, the neighbor is charmed. The two women strike up an elaborate signal-based communication, which they express with subtle changes, such as a moved curtain or crooked painting in the window. The woman experiences a crisis shortly after when her neighbor introduces a stranger to their dynamic. The neighbor seems to have a sexual relationship with the stranger. The woman must learn to grapple with her jealousy within the confines of her reality. How will her communication with her neighbor continue in the presence of the stranger? And what sort of changes, the woman’s biggest cause of anxiety, will the stranger bring? The narrative is a first-person story told from an extremely subjective, interior positioning. As a result, the incremental progress of the action becomes almost absurdist, warped by the narrator’s intense emotion. This is done with the purpose of conveying the nuances of the narrator’s depth of emotions and thought processes as she develops relationships to herself and others around her, animate or not. The project in an endeavor to redefine the normative romantic narrative and to challenge perspectives on romantic expectations, sexual identity in relation to the development of personality, and the effects of a solitary lifestyle.