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One thing that I find fascinating about Pearlman’s stories in Binocular Vision is her exploration and portrayal of different relationship dynamics.  In “Mates”, the story is told in first person (which was shocking since all of her other stories are in third person and usually jump around with perspective).  It explores the family dynamic of the Maguire’s, but it is told in the perspective of an acquaintance of theirs.  The speaker explains them in a way that reminds me of small town gossip.  She knows and has interacted with them regularly, and her perception of them is based on these interactions along with things that she has heard from other people in the town.  There is a distance between the speaker and the people being spoken about, and Pearlman does a good job of keeping this distance while still allowing the family to become known and liked by the reader.  Also, by the end of the story, you know a lot about the speaker, almost as if she were an old friend telling an old story.  In many of Pearlman’s stories, there is a random character that doesn’t quite fit in, and in this one the narrator is that person.  I’m not really sure how she was relevant to the story, but the perspective she gave really interested me.

A completely different relationship dynamic was explored in “The Coat.” This story was part of a collection about the same woman, Sonya.  I liked this story because Pearlman was able to show how a slight affection for someone can develop into a form of love, however she also demonstrates love in a way that isn’t seen often.  The relationship between Sonya and Roland seemed to start over convenience (and probably hidden hurt for Sonya), but in this story they are a newly married elderly couple.  It’s complicated to describe the love the Sonya feels for Rowland, but it definitely isn’t a passionate irresistible love.  It’s affectionate, but friendly and slightly distant. Pearlman also does a great job at portraying the fear of losing one’s spouse.  Sonya’s quick movement to volunteer to do things for Rowland after his heart attack shows her building inner worry over losing him.  Also, since the story focuses on a coat, and Sonya’s liking to it, it is also interesting to see the appreciation that Pearlman has for being alone.  This is something that I saw in many of her stories with elderly female characters.

I really like that Pearlman develops each character individually, along with exploring their spousal relationship.  In “The Story,” Harry and Lucienne are both explained before they were married.  This is interesting because the reader is able to see how a person acted before a marriage, and which characteristics they brought into the marriage.  In any relationship that a person enters, it’s important to know about the other person’s life before they met you.  I like that Pearlman acknowledges and explains this in her stories.

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