M.A. (Master of Arts)
Department of English
He had an ego the size of New York. His girlfriend, the "antagonist" who gives "Miss New Jersey" its title, on the other hand, has one the size, say, of Delaware. He requested that she increase her self image to the size of Connecticut (if not Massachusetts, which he leaves as an unspoken goal). He asks her mainly because he doesn’t like people who pretend to be worse off than they are. He and his girlfriend take a trip from Hawthorne, New Jersey, to Manhattan, and things liven up on the way there. There was Davey, swinging in the crab apple tree out front like some chimpanzee, the only thing he could think to do that made sense after his mother kicked him out of the house in the middle of a Tarzan film. It was his birthday, and apparently he wasn't supposed to see the streamers going up and the cake decorated by old Hattie Peacock. And then there was Bobby Ann, his best friend, and they carried out an ill-defined antagonism toward the adult world in "The Ice Cream Has Worms and Other Strange Facts." She lived in Biggs' thoughts now that she was dead. He hadn't visited the cemetery for two years, though he had thought of her constantly, a hovering vapor circling his memory. A broken gas pump after last fall's harvest prevented him from visiting her then, and he promised her he would not be caught unprepared again. A fortnight ago inspired by the wind and an unfocused longing, he had decided to make the trip. And with the harvest over for a month and the gas pump working, he had no excuses not to go. "Amber" is about this trip and its eerie circumstances.
Hoeksema, Kurt, "Miss New Jersey and other stories" (1991). Graduate Research Theses & Dissertations. 3982.
Northern Illinois University
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