These are the themes and conclusions that I came up with while reading this amazing short story.


As the story progresses, the housewife's thoughts continually shift back to the scientific theory of "order in the universe," and we can see that this theory is what drives her fixation with cleanliness and order in her house. Order seems to be a coping mechanism for some sort of existential dilemma that the housewife has been suffering from. A technique that Zoline uses to give readers a feeling for the housewife's obsession with order is numbering each paragraph. Not only does this technique contain an OCD quality to it, but it also serves to take meaning away from the events that take place in the story. This style makes the events seem like nothing more then a grocery list of monotonous chores; the same way the housewife sees them.


The housewife always seems emotionally separated from her situation. She looks at everything from an ambiguous perspective. Zoline also tells the story from an omniscient third-person perspective. While this technique is often used in literature it adds a particularly strong element to this story because it detaches us even more from the events despite the fact that we can see into the mind of the main character. No other perspective would give readers this feeling of dissonance.


All the techniques employed by Zoline are meant to create an atmosphere of order and removal. This serves the story well, especially when we come to the end of the narrative and all these elements are shattered. The housewife breaks down realizing that no matter how hard she tries to maintain this facade there is no order to the universe or her life, because all it takes is the smallest thing to degenerate everything into chaos. So it seems like Zoline comes up with an ultimate answer or hypothesis for life and that is that there is no meaning or purpose to life. Existence is just chaos that we try to control.


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