January 31, 2002
The analysis of I Don’t Kiss Strangers
In the short story, I Don’t Kiss Strangers there is a man versus man conflict regarding a couple who may never see each other again. In the beginning of the story there is little indication of foreshadowing of what will happen in the end. Therefore the reader is completely unaware of the outcome of the story. Written in the first person, the story takes place at a loud party with many intoxicated adults. A boyfriend has been drafted into the army and the love struck couple faces the chance of him not coming back.
The author of the story, Shirley Jackson sets the mood with a sense of disbelief and shock as the story progresses and gets more in depth. The story gives clues of foreshadowing when someone tells him he cannot just go up to a girl and blatantly say “come on outside into the air, we gotta say goodbye somehow.”
That statement kind of gives the reader clues that he wants to go somewhere else and spend his last night with her. Throughout the story, the protagonist tries to persuade his girlfriend to go to a different place other than a party to say Good-bye. However, she acts stubbornly and refuses to leave the party in fear that the liquor would be too far away. Using the liquor as a comfort zone so she does not have to face reality. In my opinion, she is trying to make it easier on her self by trying to avoid the fact that he is leaving and all she will have is memories. She talks about how long of a time it will be by saying that she want even know how the next guy will sound to her or that the next time she runs out of cigarettes she want have him to go get them. In my opinion, she says he will be different because over the year both of them will mature and the war will change him. The antagonist feels sorry for her self and goes on to say that if he does come back that neither he nor she will ever be the same again.
The climax occurs when the couple is located in the bathroom discussing their dilemma. This is where the hints of foreshadowing in the beginning of the story start to really stand out. She really puts things blatant about not wanting to go somewhere else to talk. The reader is trying to debate whether or not she will give in and go to a quieter place to say their good-bye. However, she keeps stating that nothing is going to be the same when he gets back. He does not want the last evening they have together to get spoiled but she states that she has spoiled many evenings before and why should this one be any different. Eventually she reinforces the fact that she will have to go on living without him for a year or even more. Finally, she leaves him in the bathroom broken hearted. She turned away and said, “No, I do not kiss strangers. You ought to know that by now.” What I got from this statement is that in her mind he has become a stranger now because he is about to leave to become a soldier and she is trying to act like nothing ever happened so she want get hurt as bad.
In conclusion, the reader is left with a grudge against the woman. Hoping that the story has not ended and she will come back to leave him with his wish that they could spend his last night together, alone and to comfort each other’s pain.