Themes and message

Social alienation

The short story “My Girl in Skin-Tight Jeans” by William Boyd deals with the concept of social alienation, which is a condition defined by a lack of integration into a community, or a lack of common values and a distance between a person and a group of people in a community. In the story, the narrator seems content to lead an isolated, quiet existence, with very limited social interaction. He describes the inhabitants of the small resort-town where he spends his winters as “not very sociable folk and I find that few of them have much to say for themselves” (p. 94, ll. 5-7). Readers might wonder if this may be why the narrator chose this place as a retreat.

The narrator looks down on Loretta, one of the owners of the café where he hangs out, and someone who shows some interest in him, kindly sharing her cigarettes with him and inviting him over. Instead, he describes her in demeaning terms and starts avoiding her when he becomes obsessed with the billboard girl. This may suggest that the narrator is used to loneliness and frightened of real social interactions. The narrator maintains only a casual acquaintance with people, enough to get by. The only person he professes to “kind of like” is Luke, an old, almost blind man, with whom he “talks a lot.” (p. 95, ll. 21-22)

The fact that the narrator shuns social interaction is further reinforced by his hostile reaction to the arrival of the young men from out of town. “This is a quiet li...

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