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Margot, choosing between having sex she doesn’t want and “seeming spoiled and capricious,” decides to have unwanted sex.She thinks (or tells herself) that she isn’t afraid that Robert will “force” her, and I think, on one level, that’s true: she has no evidence that he’d be violent toward her.The moment when I feel the most sympathy for Margot is when, after she spends the entire story wondering about Robert—what he’s thinking, feeling, doing—she is left marvelling the most at herself, and at her own decision to have sex with him, “at this person who’d just done this bizarre, inexplicable thing.”I always wanted to be a writer, but I spent most of my twenties doing anything and everything else. at the University of Michigan, and I’m putting the finishing touches on a short-story collection. I did the Peace Corps in Kenya, and I was a nanny for a while, and then I spent a long time in graduate school, studying African literature.
Margot keeps trying to construct an image of Robert based on incomplete and unreliable information, which is why her interpretation of him can’t stay still.
of the story, Robert calls Margot a “whore,” so I hope that most people lose sympathy for him then.
But, for most of the story, I wanted to leave a lot of space for people to sympathize with Robert, or at least, like Margot, to be able to imagine a version of him—clueless, but well-meaning—that they can sympathize with.
It’s in this context that Margot decides to have sex with Robert.
In order to avoid an uncomfortable, possibly risky exchange, she “bludgeons her resistance into submission” with a shot of whiskey. I do think there’s a hint of class tension in the story: Robert teases Margot about her “highbrow” taste in movies, and repeatedly brings up her college education in a way that (in my mind) suggests the possibility that he hasn’t gone to college himself.