Posted in Short Stories

Jennifer Jordan: The Wife

Deal Me In 2021 – Week 49

Jennifer Jordan’s “The Wife” illustrates the dark side of rich suburban marriages. It’s not an uncommon topic among short stories since the 1950’s. Marta starts her marriage wanting it to be like a “Pepsi commercial”. What makes the story intriguing, though, is that Marta grows past this as she comes to a better understanding of herself and her relationship to her husband Jonathan.

In fact, her growth as a person is in direct contrast to the deterioration of her marriage. The story doesn’t end on a happy note. Jordan’s writing explains just how tragic a situation Marta is in even in the face of this growth:

Meanwhile, she would add this dose of bitter gall to her store of slights, bad memories, and disappointments and pray that, when the next blow came, she could remember one taste of honey.

This story is included in Black American Short Stories: A Century of the Best edited by John Henrick Clarke. I read it for Week 49 of my Deal Me In 2021 short story project. Check out my Deal Me In list here. Deal Me In is hosted by Jay at Bibliophilopolis.

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