Pool – Corey Campbell

Table of Content

Pool – Corey Campbell

“Pool” is a short story written by Corey Campbell in 2009 that explores the complex and indescribable emotion of love. This unique feeling encompasses various emotions including hate, love, and jealousy, particularly within young couples.

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Youth and inexperience make us more susceptible to emotional pain in love and relationships, leading to frequent drama that has both benefits and drawbacks. Ultimately, everyone will encounter these experiences in a relationship, whether individually or collectively.

The content of the short story centers around Darla, a young woman engaged in a complex romantic relationship with Jon. Despite their deep affection for one another, Darla experiences apprehension regarding an incident that occurred the previous night. This particular event unfolded at a pool party organized by Trevor, who is a close friend of Jon’s, and his girlfriend Mandy. While Jon insisted on Darla attending this gathering alongside him, her worries stem from feeling older than both Trevor and Mandy, who are already parents.

Darla is a very shy person, and she feels uncomfortable with other people seeing her body. This is why she chose not to wear a swimsuit and joined the others who were not participating. Darla is very conscious of her weight and is quite slim. Additionally, she avoids consuming alcohol and opts for beverages like diet coke. Trevor noticed her hesitation and commented, “The water feels great.”

“Why don’t you come in and join us?” Darla invited, extending her hand into the unexpectedly warm pool. Although she knew she wouldn’t join them later, as she disliked others seeing her in a swimsuit.

On page 9, lines 58-62, the text recounts an incident involving Darla and Jon. Last night, they engaged in sexual activity and used a condom. Unfortunately, the condom broke, causing Darla to become very worried. In order to address the situation, they visited a chemist’s shop to obtain a morning-after pill. However, despite taking the pill, Darla still felt anxious about the whole ordeal. She constantly pondered the possibility of being pregnant despite not being ready for motherhood yet. During their visit to the chemist’s shop, the pharmacist’s negative demeanor towards them was apparent.

Darla’s thoughts are consumed by her father, leading her to yearn for the opulent lifestyle of Trevor and Mandy. Envious of their wealth and apparent blissful existence, Darla fantasizes about swapping lives with Mandy. Her own reality is starkly different: residing in a destitute neighborhood in New Jersey alongside Jon, Darla’s relationship with him is fraught with instability. While Jon loves Darla deeply, she does not reciprocate his affection.

Darla and Jon have limited communication during their drives, opting to listen to the radio instead of talking. Despite their relatively short relationship of less than a year, Jon’s mother holds a high regard for Darla and desires for her to be part of their family. Within this timeframe, Jon’s mother has purchased clothing for Darla from Macy’s and regularly invites her to join family dinners on Friday nights.

Darla believes that Jon disregard her emotions and neglects her when she is feeling upset. When Darla expresses her discontent, Jon simply shrugs, causing Darla to compare her situation to being trapped in quicksand. It seems that if she were sinking, Jon would likely remain indifferent and respond with the same nonchalant shrug.

Whenever she experienced intense sadness, which occurred occasionally, Jon would behave as though leaving her by herself was the most appropriate course of action. He expressed that her sadness rendered him feeling powerless.” (L. 138-141, p.

11)The theme of “Pool” revolves around tragic love. Darla and Jon have differing perspectives on their relationship. Darla perceives the relationship as hopeless, attributing Jon’s selfishness and indifference to its failure. On the contrary, Jon remains oblivious to any issues within the relationship. The sight of Mandy and Trevor living happily exacerbates Darla’s anguish, ultimately leading her to a state of apathy where she no longer cares about anything except seeking happiness like Mandy.

“Despite it not fitting her, she no longer cared. She gazed into his face and uttered, ‘Let’s go.'” (L. 185-186, p.)


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Pool – Corey Campbell. (2017, Apr 11). Retrieved from


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