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The Space Between Stars
Transcript of The Space Between Stars
Geeta Kothari is the author of
The Spaces Between Stars
. Geeta was born and raised in New York City and currently she resides in Pittsburg. She is a well-known writer and fiction editor. She is a writing center director as well as a senior lecturer. She is a two-time recipient of the fellowship in literature from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and the editor of
did my Mama like to Dance?
a well-known novel. In 2004 she received the David and Tina Bellet award for Teaching Excellence.
Maya lives a simple married life to her husband, Evan. Maya is very reserved whereas her husband is more adventurous. He tries to get her out of her comfort zone but Maya is unsure about the unknown. Struggling to find herself she often tries to help her aunt and her husband but not herself.
Protagonist and Antagonist
The protagonist of the story is Maya, a married woman of an Indian background. She is struggling to find her place in the world. Her aunt, Shyamma, raised her after her parents were killed in a plane crash.
The antagonist in the story is Evan who symbolizes the new culture that Maya has not been able to adapt to.
The story takes place in Erie, a city in Pennsylvania, United States of America. It takes place by a creek and in Maya’s lake house.
Maya goes on a fishing trip with Evan where unintentionally she kills a fish. Due to her cultural background the guilt of killing the fish stays with her. The death of the fish affects her thoughts and emotions, which interferes with her decisions. Throughout the short story, Maya’s guilt turns into self-doubt causing her to reflect upon previous and future actions in her life. Evan asks Maya to go on a ski trip with his family; Maya refuses unlike the other times where she always compromises her decisions she stands up for herself.
The Space Between Stars
Maya confronts Evan but Evan makes her feel guilty by forcing to inform his parents about her decision. This does not sit well with Maya and creates turmoil within her. She sticks with her original decision proving to herself that she can make decisions and put herself before others. Maya gains a new sense of confidence at the end of the short story putting away a lot of her self-doubt.
The Space Between the Stars is an important title because at the end of the short story the placing of the star on Maya’s ceiling in her bedroom ends her self-doubt and creates a new confidence within her.
Point of View
The point of view in the short story is Limited Omniscient because it is written in third person yet Maya’s feelings and thoughts are known. For example in the short story a line states “ Her guilt pressed against her temples tightening like a vice around her head.” This is what is going on internally in Maya's mind, but what is going on internally in Evan's is not expressed.
The climax of the short story happens when Maya “ dug around for the leftover stars stashed in her bedside table. She cleared off the table and stood on it; using the wall for balance, she added her own star to the cluster directly above her side of the bed.” When Maya does this she shows her confidence and finally accepts herself and all the decisions she has made. She finally realizes that all these years she made decisions and acted upon them in order to please Evan and Shyamma but she never did anything to fulfill her happiness and her own desires.
Internal conflict is clearly represented by the author in the short story. Throughout the story, Maya struggles to find herself, her importance in the community, her adaptation to the new culture and most importantly her identity. (Man vs. Self) Maya is constantly bothered by her actions that killed the innocent life, which is the cause of her realization that her life belongs to her and the choices she makes must first bring happiness to her
before the others like her husband and aunt.
The allusion in this short story can be found in the line that says “ she prayed to her blue-faced gods and goddesses.” This is an allusion to the Hindu deities that Maya grew up praying to. This allusion strengthens the idea of a cultural difference between Maya and the new world she is trying to accept.
The first symbol that is present in the short story is a sunfish. The sunfish symbolizes change and adaptation to new surroundings. More importantly the fish represents Maya and how she will have to change and adapt to the new culture she is living in. The second symbol that is important in the short story is star, specifically the star that Maya herself places as she expresses her independence to make her own choices.
An effective simile in this short story would be ''Her guilt pressed against her temples, like a vice around her head."
Imagery in this short story can be found throughout, especially when they are describing the outdoors life and their homes. For example imagery can be seen in the lines, “ She watched Evan eat his sandwich, oblivious to her inner turmoil as he basked in the sun.” The image of a young man sitting down eating and the shining sun glowing down on him can be seen through this description.
When the short story is introduced, it revolves consistently around the sunfish which is one of the important symbols in the Spaces Between The Stars but slowly throughout the story the author unravels the truth that the life of the sunfish can be related to Maya's life. Beneath the obvious meaning of the death of the sunfish causing Maya to feel guilty, there is a second deeper level of thought expressing that Maya is in fact the sunfish, who's life had been snatched away from it like Maya's ability to make her own decision to her pleasure was kept away from her.
The theme of the short story The Spaces Between Stars is true identity and finding yourself by looking beyond the self-doubt. Throughout the story Maya is trying to find who she really is. She constantly doubts herself and always thinks of herself in negative ways which hold her back from clearing seeing the truth. Until the very end when she realizes who she really is and accepts herself she is unhappy with every decision she makes.
The Perfectibility of Man
Alden Nowlan was born near Windsor, Nova Scotia, on January 25, 1933. On March 16, 1952, he arrived in Hartland, New Brunswick, where he obtained a job at The Observer, a local weekly newspaper. In 1968, he was appointed writer-in-residence at the University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, N.B. In 1972 he became an Honorary Research Associate. He has received many awards such as the president's Medal of the University of Western Ontario for short fiction in 1970 and 1972 and the Governor General's Award for poetry in 1967.
The poem is about a man who wants to create the perfect race of all men. He is forced to create this perfect race even though the task may be hard to accomplish. The man is a Nazi soldier who believes that God wants them to create this race yet he does not want to kill all those who do not suit the perfect race.
The total meaning of this poem is the lack of humanity in the world. People want to have a perfect world but the way they come about this perfection is by acting in ways that lack a sense of humanity and go against their morals. Himmler expresses "that is hellish work [he] is doing" by killing the Jews which seems as if he is regretful but on the contrary he considers the Jews as pests and does not want to leave this horrific responsibility for the future generation to carry on their shoulders. Himmler states "we must begin by delousing the race" through which he indicates that he considers the Jews like lice and considers their lives less valuable than that of an animal.
Imagery can be found in the lines “ of which had no need for money, since they grew their own food and made everything else- clothes, furniture, musical instruments- with their own hands.” The image of a utopian village that is peaceful, where everyone cares for each other and accepts each other.
One of the important allusions in this story is the reference to the Bhagavad-Gita (line 16) which is a Hindu scripture. This allusion is very powerful since it clearly depicts the hypocrisy of Himmler who is a God-seeker meanwhile his actions are completely opposite in accordance with the scriptures. The second allusion is the reference to Posen (line 24), a city in Poland where Himmler delivered a speech which openly expressed his goal of the destruction of the Jewish race. A biblical allusion is also found towards the end of the poem; "Himmler wept" which can be compared to the biblical line "Jesus wept". However Himmler's tears do not represent genuine concern of the lost lives as Jesus did.
The first symbol is represented by the “bed-lamps”. During WWII, German soldiers would skin the Jewish prisoners and use their skin to create lamps.