2 The deleterious effects of desiring the unattainable ThemeThe deleterious effects of desiring the unattainable
3 Plot OverviewA couple’s neighbors go out of town, so the couple watches over the apartment. They develop a strange attachment to the apartment, which includes going through their belongings and even trying on their clothes. In the end, they become locked out of the apartment and realize the life they were dreaming of was not their own.
4 Quotes“He considered her shoes, but understood they would not fit” (pg 91).Shows how the life he desired is unattainable and only holds significance to him because it isn’t his.“It would not turn. Her lips were parted, and her breathing was hard, expectant” (pg 93).Shows desperation, they realize they can never have this life and must appreciate what they have.
5 Characterization Husband: confused, vulnerable Has a difficult time finding his own identity. He is easily influenced by others and by what he finds in the apartment. He is curious about different identities-even women’s, as he tries on women’s clothes. His confusion and ability to be manipulated and coerced so easily leaves him especially vulnerable to change.
6 Characterization Wife: more reserved, discreet Doesn’t want other people to know about her dissatisfaction, didn’t even recognize it in herself until she saw her neighbor’s way of life. Both her and her husband are seeking more fulfillment in their lives and enjoyment in their marriage.
7 SymbolismKittyThe cat is the reason they are allowed into the apartment in the first place. The cat is desperate for attention, but often overlooked by the couple. Their one responsibility was to care for the cat and they forgot to feed it, showing their lack of reliability, or even frivolousness. Called “kitty” and not “cat” to show a personal attachment.PhotosEmphasize how couple is trying to place themselves in neighbor’s shoes, but will never actually be able to.
8 Symbolism (cont’d) Doorknob Becomes a barrier to bar them from taking on a different life. Locks them out from ever attaining what they want. Also brings the couple closer together as they realize that being locked out means being “stuck” with one another, they begin to appreciate each other and the value of their marriage.
9 Allusion Biblical Allusion to the Ten Commandments “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife”One should not want what is not his, will only lead to his demise. Should not be jealous of another life, because then one is not seeing the good in their own life.