Astrological Emptiness in Steve Almond’s “The Problem of Human Consumption

Decent Essays

In Steve Almond’s story “The Problem of Human Consumption”, it revolves around the theme of loss, morning, and grief. Almond’s story focuses on a widowed father who is passed on to raise his daughter single handily. The story discussed a day in which feelings of morning and deception are brought out among the characters. The feelings of loss, morning and grief in this story have greatly manifested the way this story was written and interpreted. After breaking down Almond’s story and reanalyzing it, it can be determined that through his use of the parallel of astrology (space) mixed with his way of selective word choice and use of symbolism that he is able to strongly and effectively support his work.
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In one scene, Paul, the father, is holding his deceased wife’s wedding ring, which, appears to be suspended in the air. He talks about it as seeming to be “suspended” and defies the “law of gravity”. When he discovers the ring, it is narrated that, “The hair is looped through the band, actually in a way that when he holds both ends the ring is suspended. He…the ring is defying the law of gravity” (Almond 144). Relating back to astrology, objects that are in dimensional space are suspended due to the properties of space and the “law of gravity”. The parallel of astrology that the author use has to do with “space”, that space which is being mirrored would be the void (emptiness, another form of space) that Paul and Jess have due to the loss they’re both facing, the loss of his wife also her mother. The space in which the suspended ring creates through it, serves as a mirror to the void which both character face. Symbolically, the void is represented with the dead wife’s wedding ring. Analytically, the ring is missing the space in which it use to occupy. Here again recurs the theme of “space” relating to the most symbolic object throughout the story, the wedding ring. The author used this parallel of astrology in order emphases one of the vastest, curiosity striking, mystery to be discovered, which is space in terms of astrological space, but along paralleling to the space of emptiness (in terms of loss of a love one). He does this in order to analogously relate it to his

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