Shopping for One Analysis

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The short story Shopping for One is about Jean, a single woman who feels ashamed and self-conscious about her solitary lifestyle. Love is a main theme of the story, and the popular proverb that love is a funny size resonates with Jean’s experiences of feeling alone. The story takes place in a supermarket where Jean overhears a conversation about relationships and feels judged by others for being alone. She is indecisive and nervous, and her childhood experiences have made her paranoid that others are judging her based on her shopping. The story is built up in a confusing way, reflecting Jean’s confused and lonely life. Ultimately, Jean is afraid of the prejudice against single women and finds her loneliness embarrassing.

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Love is one of the main themes in the story. And a proverb the most people know, and maybe have felt it on their own body, describes love as a funny size. Love has made many people alone. And to be single is not easy if you ask the narrator Jean from the short story “shopping for one”. She describes how it is to live alone and how she feels other people are seeing her. The short story takes place in a supermarket, where the narrator Jean is standing in queue.

She overhears a conversation about relationships between two women in front of her. Jean is a single woman. She is very much self-aware and ashamed to be alone. This finds expression in the text. For example this quote: “… but it seems to define everything, to pinpoint her aloneness, to prescribe an empty future”. She is talking about a book; “Cooking for One”, which she at first wanted to buy but then she changed her mind, because she thinks it is too embarrassing.

This shows that Jean is also indecisive. She is having problems choosing what she wants. She is a nervous person. She believes that everybody is looking in her basket to see what kind of person she is. You can maybe call her a paranoiac person. This comes from her childhood, where her mother always said: “You can always tell a person by their shopping”. Jean doesn’t have it from strangers, and because she is observing what people are buying, she thinks that they are looking in her basket too.

Her life is confusing and this also finds expression in the way the story is built up. The story starts without introduction, in medias res. It’s like you are inside Jean’s head with her thoughts and her vision to things. It can be a little confusing, just like Jean’s life. She is having trouble being judge by strangers. She is afraid for the prejudice against single women. She is not living after the norms, which is having a man and children. She is living a life in loneliness, and she finds it embarrassing.

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Shopping for One Analysis. (2017, Mar 18). Retrieved from

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