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The warmth of human emotion

Satisfactory Essays
The Warmth of Human Emotion

Heat and warmth are usually depicted as elements of comfort and security. This warmth is what people crave to achieve this comfort. In Evelyn Lau’s “Family,” the heat and warmth give deeper meaning in regards to human emotion. The contrasting images of ice and cold as well resemble the abstract human emotion in the short story. The elements are used in such a way as to satisfy the hunger of emotional warmth in regards to the characters Zoe and Douglas.

As the story unfolds there is a sense of coldness surrounding the community. The setting stage for the action is in fact a community in a cold winter. Through warmth is how one reaches one’s own comfort level. It is noted to the extent that one must almost search for the warmth inside one’s self to achieve this comfort. In the case of Zoe she achieves warmth though emotional stability. Both Zoe and Douglas do search for this but by intention are both quite different. As the friendly relationship between the two progresses, it soon evolves into a hot and steamy relationship full of adultery and deception.

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Zoe in the case of the relationship is the one who seems to crave this warmth. It is soon noted that her attraction towards Douglas becomes almost too great for her to control herself. Even though she knows that the man she desires is a well-respected man with a wife and children, she feels compelled to satisfy her own desire, thus deeming herself as being selfish. Yet at this point, as she is acquainted with the wife, Ellen, she still thinks about the warm touch of Douglas’ hand and how she is drawn to his warmth. As Zoe is left alone by herself, thoughts of sexual depictions come into her mind. As cold as she feels she pictures Douglas and his Wife in a cuddling scenario in the master bedroom. At this point she feels somewhat jealous of the fact that Ellen is his wife instead if herself. By occupying her mind with images of Douglas “wrapp[ing] his arms around his wife, her stomach and, her breasts” (Lau 1153), Zoe feels even more compelled to satisfy her desire for Douglas. Her craving for Douglas’ emotional warmth becomes too unbearable for her as she watches the dead animals hung up in the organic-foods market. She “resist[s] the urge to lean forward and stroke her fingertips down the grain of their feathers and fur, towards the belly warm as the belly of a sleeping man” (Lau 1154).
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