Themes and message

Divorce

The main theme of the short story “The Gift” of Karen Philips is divorce and dealing with its consequences. The theme of divorce is explored through the character-narrator, a woman who divorced her husband Ron and is now trying to accept the failure of their marriage and the fact that he has found somebody else.

Through the story, the narrator reveals her thoughts and feeling towards Ron and how their marriage gradually failed: “…neither of us knew how to mend the growing holes in our relationship. Our arguments were as corrosive as rust…” (ll. 72-74). Further flashbacks explore the mixed feelings the narrator had towards the end of her marriage, although she was the one who initiated the divorce. During the process, we see her going through “unexpected calm” (l. 83) but also through “guilt and relief” (l. 100) or hate (l. 101). Her emotions were also influenced by how the divorce affected her children who became “miserable” (l. 102)...

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