Katherine Ames is the protagonist of Kay Boyles short story “The Astronomers Wife”. Mrs. Ames seems to be an emotionally abused wife. Katherine shows low self-esteem and seems to recognize that a man is a woman’s master. She maintains a household successfully, while her husband is asleep. In the story, the astronomer is a man who all that he cares about is the stars and himself, while he shows disrespect to his wife. His profession makes it clear that he spends a lot of time thinking alone in the dark. “He was a man of other things, a dreamer. At times, he lay still for hours, at others he sat upon the roof behind his telescope, or wandered down the pathway to the road and out across the mountains.” When Mrs. Ames meets the plumber, who comes in her house in order to fix a leak, she gets to realize that not all men are alike. Mrs. Ames feels a connection to the plumber. Maybe it is because her husband treats her as unimportant, whereas the plumber thinks of her as equal. The point that we come out with is, that Mrs. Ames might wanted to receive some kind of respect and finally she found a man which gives her respect. The title of the story “Astronomer’s Wife” relates to the wife and to the theme of the marital relationship between the couple.
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To begin with, the title of the short story is directly related to the protagonist. The protagonist of the story, as mentioned above, is Katherine Ames. Katherine Ames is the wife of the astronomer. As soon as someone gets to read the story, he will realize from the title that the main character of the story is the wife. The title by itself is a very important factor for the story, especially in this one. By the title, the audience has a first impression what will the story be about. In “Astronomer’s Wife”, the title presents the wife as a property of the astronomer. The title also indicates that there might be some kind of inequality between the couple. Furthermore, the audience can comprehend by reading the title, that the astronomer’s wife is dependent to her husband.
To continue with, the title can be associated to the marital relationship problems within the couple. As the audience gets to see from the beginning there is a problem in the marital relationship between the couple, which is the main idea throughout the short story. “He was a man of other things, a dreamer. At times he lay still for hours, at others he sat upon the roof behind his telescope, or wandered down the pathway to the road and out across the mountains”. The text indicates that the astronomer is not paying attention to his wife, therefore making the wife feel lonely. As his job indicates, he works at night and sleeps during the day making it more difficult for the relationship between him and his wife. “The day would proceed from this, beat by beat, without reflection, like any other day. The astronomer was still asleep, or feigning it, and she, once out of bed, had come into her own possession”. As the audience continues to read, it gets to the conclusion that the astronomer is educated while his wife is not. This factor creates a bigger distance between the couple, enhancing their marital relationship problem. “That man might be each time the new arching wave, and woman the undertow that sucked him back, where things she had been told by his silence where so”. Moreover, the audience gets to see how Mrs. Ames feels. Katherine Ames is unhappy, powerless, and dependent to her husband, without any sign of hope left in her. “She was a youngish woman, but this she had forgotten. The mystery and silence of her husband’s mind lay like a chiding finger on her lips. Her eyes were gray, for the light had been extinguished in them”. Later on in the story, the readers can see that Katherine is dismissive towards her husband. Mrs. Ames liked her husband’s silence as she was used to it. “”Katherine!” said the astronomer in a ringing tone. “There’s a problem worthy of your mettle!”. Mrs. Ames did not turn her head, but led the plumber swiftly down the stairs.” In fact, the astronomer is disrespectful towards his wife.
To conclude with, the title of the story “Astronomer’s Wife” relates to the wife and to the theme of the marital relationship between the couple. The main idea of the story is introduced to the reader’s in the title. As the title indicates, the story is about a couple and gives to the readers a hint that it may be about their relationship, which is the main idea of the story. As the story continues, the audience gets familiar with the couple and its problems in its relationship. I believe that the title reveals and helps the audience to identify the theme of the marital relationship of the couple.
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