The Husband Stitch: So many theories, so many thoughts.

Read the story here:
http://www.granta.com/New-Writing/The-Husband-Stitch

I like how the writer has written little stories within the story. She seems to be alternating between these little stories and the main story itself. The little stories take you away from the main story for just enought time, and these stories make you think about what just happened and what is about to happen. I like the narrator’s tone, like she’s taking everything in life–the joy, hate, love, fights– everything, and making it seem like it’s no big deal. I like how, even though the story is what is considered long, it only mentions the really important details and works in a sort of step-by-step way, first she meets the boy, falls in love, gets married, has a kid. The story starts with her as a teenager and ends about the time her son goes off to college and decides to get married, and yet, because of the way she’s written the story, even though she obviously couldn’t mention every detail, we feel like we know everything, or rather, we don’t feel like we’re missing out on any information.

I really enjoyed the little notes she put in about the noises the readers should make or the things we should do to match the noise or emotion. She’s not only making us understand the feeling and hear the noise, but she’s making us feel it too. Also, the fact that she can describe the voices, noises, feelings in such a detailed manner, makes the reader(at least, me) feel like the events in the story are more realistic. And even though there were no names mentioned in the story, it didn’t take away the realistic factor.

For some reason, throughout the story, I keep asking myself as to when and where the story is set. Not that it really makes a difference.

The way the writer has put in the dialogue is interesting. It’s similar to the way we think– without quotation marks, without any particular order–, it shows some sort of flow of thought, and that was something I enjoyed. The way the dialogue went on exactly like how I think, gave me comfort.

Now, to talk about the two major points in this story that I keep thinking about, the title and the ribbon.

Initially the ribbon confused me a lot, I had no idea what it meant because I somehow missed the line in the story which signals that the narrator’s head falls off. I have a few theories about this:

1. Maybe the ribbon represents the last straw in a relationship. Sometimes, when you’re with someone, and you share everything with them, there is some thing(s) that you want to keep to yourself and for yourself. And when that one thing is taken from you, you feel like everything has been taken away, and this adds up with the narrator saying ‘The ribbon is not a secret, it’s just mine.’. I think everyone needs something that’s just theirs, it gives you a sense of security. In this case, the head falling off could be symbolic, and maybe that’s why even after it apparently happens, she says she feels as lonely as she has ever felt.

2. Or the ribbon could represent a punishment for someone taking something that is not yours to take. It’s like taking something you’re not supposed to take, the ribbon could be like a forbidden fruit. And when you do something that you have been repeatedly told not to do, there are some consequences.

3. Only women have the ribbon, and yet, it has not been confirmed that all woman have the ribbon. So, maybe you can see the ribbon only when they are completely exposed, and maybe that’s why the husband only notices it after sex, and the lady from her art class is naked and that’s why she can see it. We know that it is something women are born with, because when the narrator’s son is born they know he doesn’t have a ribbon because he is a boy. So, it’s something that women are born with. It can’t be a physical characteristic because not all women could have the same characteristics. So, it’s something that all women do? It could also be women taking pain? Emotional and physical. And bearing it? That’s just an idea I had. This theory I have has all these elements that add up to something in my head but I can’t make complete sense of it.

4. It’s one of those stories that you think a lot about, come up with many theories about, but it turns about to be quite simple. Maybe her head just falls off and there’s a reason it came out around Halloween.

Now about the title. First, I had no idea whatsoever what the title meant or had to do with the story. Then my teacher told us what ‘the husband stitch’ is supposed to be. It’s an extra stitch that a woman gets after giving birth and either cuts or tears. The extra stitch makes the vagina tighter and pleases the partner and that’s why it is called ‘The Husband Stitch’. Now, there is no mention of the narrator getting the extra stitch, and so, this may not be relevant. But, it could symbolize the wife going the extra mile to please the husband, and in a way, it may represent the ribbon. Did all the women who had the ribbon have the extra stitch? Or was it like an extra stitch to life? Was the ribbon representative of the husband stitch? If not, why is the story called The Husband Stitch? Is it just a Halloween story?

So many questions, no answers. Just a growing number of theories.

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