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After reading “No One’s a Mystery” by Elizabeth Tallent, answer the questions below. As always, students who respond fully, who use details from the readings, who have fresh and thoughtful insights, who interact with their classmates, and who use standard English will receive the higher grades.
When looking at the work from a feminist perspective, what impression do you get of Jack, the female narrator, and their relationship as you read the first paragraph? Make sure to reference specific character details from the text, rather than your own experiences or opinions, to support your answer.
For my eighteenth birthday Jack gave me a five-year diary with a latch and a little key, light as a dime. I was sitting beside him scratching at the lock, which didn’t seem to want to work, when he thought he saw his wife’s Cadillac in the distance, coming toward us. He pushed me down onto the dirty floor of the pickup and kept one hand on my head while I inhaled the musk of his cigarettes in the dashboard ashtray and sang along with Rosanne Cash on the tape deck. We’d been drinking tequila and the bottle was between his legs, resting up against his crotch, where the seam of his Levi’s was bleached linen-white, though the Levi’s were nearly new. I don’t know why his Levi’s always bleached like that, along the seams and at the knees. In a curve of cloth his zipper glinted, gold.