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My Heart Is Broken - Mavis Gallant

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University of Toronto St. George
Sarah Caskey

Exploring Gender Issues Mavis Gallant, “My Heart is Broken”  Difficulty of communication  Disappointment  Heartbreak from the inability to bridge differences between Cultures, generations, and gender  Ms Thompson, as a woman and a human being, has no sympathy whatsoever about what happened  MT also says “don’t say the name, don’t say it” and stuff but she pushes Jeannie at the same time and at the end suggests names  Jeannie’s culture and society sends her  Pg 130 – introduction o she did her nails after she got raped, but she just wants to look pretty o Jean Harlow was known as a sex symbol, but so is Jeannie because of how she dresses and how pretty she is and is skinny o Jean Hawlow Dies – but Jeannie also does because she dies inside bc of the rape  Jeannie is very objectified o Arms over her head o Heels touching the table o Nail polish on her flat stomach o Skinny legs o Shorts and husband’s shirt  CUTEX nail polish = CUTE + SEX o Contradiction and tension in which Jeannie has to work at  MT is trying to console Jeannie but she’s not that good  She’s not trying to be malicious and grossly insensitive, but she cannot relate at all because she never experienced much tragic events in her life  She kind of relates Jeannie’s sexual assault and Jean Harlow’s death  The men wouldn’t give me a seat, they were unemployed in those days o Social manner, social protocol o Implied connection of employment and their masculine roles o If they’re unemployed, it affects their social manners  Canned stuff and preservatives  Big heavy parcel that she carries – canned stuff and preservatives o MT had her own burden to carry, literally the stuff o Jeannie has a emotional burden – rape  YOU weren’t even born yet o Big generational difference o Their thinking and ideology is different because of their age difference  Gallant is pointing at how directly Jeannie and MT are affected by celebrities (Jean Harlow)  Pg 132 – reference to the Thompsons getting together with Jeannie and Vern o Concealed gramophone o Weird, funny, horrifying song o About a young couple spooning in the park, getting intimate, having sex o It eludes to physical intimacy in this innocent way  Little bird sang  Little dwarf singing it  High voice, fast voice o Record belonging to Mr Thompson’s mother – generational gift  Just like the preserved goods  The room is decorated in an innocent way, with dolls and pictures above their beds, and the smell of cocoa and toast – more related to children o “Maureen was the Thompsons’ youngest doll” o MT gives all these worldly advices to Jeannie, but she’s walking dolls, something that a 2 year-old would do o Emotional immaturity o Lonliness – one of the only things she can do in this lonely place is walk a doll? o But it might be a literal child/baby, but objectified as a doll, just something pretty and little t
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