Literary Analysis Research Paper - Literature - Essay

977 words - 4 pages

Marissa Thomas
Professor Brenner
19 Feb 2018
IND Aff or Out of Love In Sarajevo
In the short story “ Ind Aff,” Fay Weldon uses the setting of her story to teach a young
woman a lesson about life, love, and morality. Narrating the story from first point of view, the
unnamed young woman gives us a private glimpse into her personal life. The young lady is the
protagonist in the story and also the dynamic character; learning and growing in the first few
pages Weldon gives the reader a chance to get to know her.
The setting plays a very important role throughout the story. Setting the story in Sarajevo,
Weldon uses the historical event that took place here to teach the young woman about life. In the
small town of Bosnia located in Sarajevo, an assassin by the name of Princip murdered the
Archduke Ferdinand and his wife. This event is said to have started World War I. Visiting the
town of Sarajevo, the young woman reflects on Princips decision on murdering the Archduke
and his wife, and these thoughts move her into a different course of action. Weldon’s story is
filled with irony, as the young woman seeks justification for a man who happens to be her
professor. Peter, her professor was supervising her thesis on morality. The irony is Peter is her
professor and a married man, while he should be teaching her about morality, instead he is
burdening her with the choice between her own morality and a struggle to be like her sister. Her
sister, named Clare happens to be married to a Harvard professor. Clare urges her sister to go
along with it, stating, “​If you can unhinge a marriage, it’s ripe for the unhinging, it would happen
sooner or later, it might as well be you” (36). She contemplates on the idea of coming between a
marriage, and overlays Princip’s decision to murder as she analyzes her decision. Princips’s
made his decision, he gave his life for the love of his country. This young woman is thinking
about acting against morals for the love of a man. She even hesitates on calling it true love, and
says the only reason she goes on the trip is to make sure it is the real thing.
Weldon uses rain to bring Mrs. Piper into the story, although she is not present in
Sarajevo. The young woman notes that every sidewalk is sheltered by “a shield of bobbing
umbrellas…to keep the rain off the streets. It was raining on his wife, too, back in Cambridge”
(5). Using the rain pouring down upon the main characters while the townsfolk remain sheltered,
Weldon shows how exposed the two lovers are, and how Mrs. Piper, too, is affected by their
actions. The young woman cannot forget her, as she cannot forget the Archduke’s wife. The
young woman never names the Archduke’s wife in her narrative, preferring to leave her a
nameless but unforgettable figure in the shooting. The young woman has the opportunity to
separate a marriage just as the assassin was faced with ​t​he choice to drive the world into war.
Both choices will ultimately destroy an innocent woman. Peter tells his young lover, as if to ease
her fears of destroying a marriage, “it takes more than an assassination to start a war. What
happened was that the buildup of political and economic tensions in the Balkans was such that it
had to find some​ ​release” (16). Peter uses Sarajevo and the young woman’s emotions to defend
the pain he is causing his wife. He states: “Your Ind Aff is my wife’s sorrow, that’s the trouble”
(27), as if he has no responsibility in the affair. In this way, Peter is excempt from any
wrongdoing; he is swept away in the young woman’s emotions. His shallow pain only serves to
make him feel that he is not the one to blame.The young woman excuses Peter by finding an
analogy between Peter and the chauffeur of the Archduke. They are both static characters but yet
they both play a vital role in their respective tales. The young woman notes that the chauffeur
had lost his way, much like Peter lost sight of his marriage and duty to his children. The woman
does not blame the chauffeur, defending his actions and giving him a ready excuse. “Do not
think that the archduke’s chauffeur was merely careless…he was, I imagine, in a state of shock,
fright, and confusion” (28). In this way, the young woman shows that she sees Peter as an
innocent man, driven to infidelity by the inordinate affection.
The inordinate affection that the young woman feels begins to wear off. The rain
continues to drive the storyline, forcing the woman and her lover to dine in a restaurant. Under
the watchful stare of the waiters, she finally sees herself as others do. “In a world which for
once…was finally full of young men, unslaughtered, what was I doing with this man with
thinning hair” (40)? Here the pieces start to fall into place, and the woman realizes that she is
selfish in her pursuit of being with a married man. The marriage can be used as a comparison for
a country, and in “IND AFF or Out of Love in Sarajevo” Weldon uses these two to illustrate how
choices made by individuals can change the fate of a nation or the life of a marriage, but only if
they are already filled with trouble and displeasure. In the end, she cannot have that on her
conscience, and realizes she has a decision to make.Throughout the story, the nameless student
changes and grows, influenced by the setting of the story, and comes to realize that she is not
willing to burden herself with the guilt of destroying a marriage.

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