Free How to Be Other Woman Essay Sample


This report has chosen two different stories by Lorrie Moore’s “How to Be An Other Woman” and Lucy Corin’s “Airplane” to seek how they address particular concerns. It gives a comprehensive approach on the way the two writers deal with control and anxiety, and/or a speaker’s sensitivity to detail. It will show the various striking similarities as well as their different approach in their work. The report has identified the three subject’s anxiety, control and speakers sensitivity and elaborated them as observed in each book to detail, at the same time clearly show how we can relate to them in real life. It will also identify the various techniques used to offer these three in the two stories.

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The three subjects play a very important role in life, they are part of the qualities that shape the character of a person. In these two stories they will help the reader see the individual characteristic of each one of the players.  Lucy and Lorries have incorporated different concepts but all revolve around anxiety, control and have strived to put their ideas in a clear and sensitive way, at the same time showing how we can apply this in real life by impersonating the reader. This aspect of personification has played a vital role in ensuring that the reader participates in the stories, as he or she will get the feeling like they are addressing someone. Lucy has personified the reader and made her a woman who is travelling on a plane where she meets with a soldier who happened to sit next to her during the flight. As the events unfold, the reader gets to experience the anxiety, self control that she undergoes. Lorrie has not been left behind as she too uses the same technique of personifying the reader, showing a striking similarity in the two stories. Another similarity is seen Lorries work where the reader is personified to be the woman just as in Lucy’s story. The third similarity is that both women meet their male companions in public in similar places which is as they travel by public means of transport. It is of great importance to acknowledge these similarities as they help in building the foundation of of the report about the two books, it will also assist in pointing out the differences exhibited by the two authors in their work.


The two authors Lorrie Moore and Lucy Corin stories are very articulate on the way they address particular issues, one of them been self control. Self control is a virtual that is very important for people to move along, as well as facilitate in the communication process. In both stories one of the characters in each manifests high level of self esteem which reflects self control. This is seen in Lorrie story when Hilda wants to start a conversation, he is very composed and does not shy away.

We get to see lack of control been manifested in Lucy’s story when she struggles to try and read her book in an attempt to avoid the hero, however the hero controls himself and is at ease, he is not troubled and even falls asleep in the plane. The two authors do talk about control throughout their work, however they both use different approaches. We see in Lucy’s work it is the gentleman who manifests self control, but in Lorrie story it is both the woman and the man. This shows how varied the two stories are yet they speak of the same context. The two situations are realistic, this is because they show us that self control is gender sensitive. That is to say both the woman and the man can exercise control, it all depends on the situation one is. In Lorrie’s work the gentleman borrows a matchbox from the lady to light up a cigarette, this wouldn’t be the case if he wasn’t confident enough to express his desire for smoking, thus showing he was in control of his life and no one would dictate it for him. Back in real life this is a very important virtual as it improves one view of the world, so that one faces it without fear of criticism.

Lucy is quick to point out the self control expressed by the lady in her story, she does this to try and maintain her composure as well as not to embarrass herself before the gentleman sitting next to him. Many ladies in real life situations will undergo a lot of trouble as well as exercise self control in an effort to hide from reality just like in the story, she felt like throwing up but controlled herself because she feared of what the guy sited to her would think of her. To some point this can be a disadvantage because one gets to hide his or her weaknesses form the people who are supposed to point out these weaknesses so as to look for their solutions. It is therefore preferable not to exercise such kind of control to the extent you harm yourself in the name of protecting your appearances, for all it will amount to is pride. In the story we see the lady having a lot of pride in her, she did not want to sit with just anybody, and when the gentlemen switched sits she was so sarcastic about the first gentleman and thought of very negative comments but managed to control herself and kept them to herself.

Lorrie shows how the gentleman is in control of their relationship; he is always confident as well as assuring to the lady. He also takes her to the movie where he holds her hands and caresses them, Lorrie also shows how the man is in control by elaborating on the way he is responsible when he takes the lady to concerts and makes a point of locating a seat for the both of them. The author of this story uses various techniques to bring the issue of control; there is the use of suspense when the lady starts enquiring what the man does. He does not answer directly; instead he makes it look like she’s asking a question she already knows. The gentleman is in control back in the museum as he guides his mistress at the same time explaining to her about the history and facts of the artifacts and the museum. This is quite impressive as it shows how control can be used especially when a couple go outing, the gentleman ought to have information with him so as he will be in a position to control and steer the relationship in a civilized way.

In Lucy’s story control is also seen when she tries to compose herself and wait for the gentleman sited next to her to start conversation. This makes her feel quite uncomfortable because she has no topic she can think of to start a conversation. This in real life can be seen as a self destructive attitude simply because if she wanted to converse with him so bad all she could have done is do it but not beat herself over it as she was doing. She also tries to control herself to read her book but this latter on seems to be a very difficult task.  She experiences a dilemma whether to continue reading her book or just close it and start a conversation with her neighbor, when she decides to close her book the gentleman is already asleep.

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Lorrie brings about the issue of anxiety when the gentleman in the story starts the conversation; the lady is filled with a lot of uncertainty and undergoes low self esteem. She does not know what she’s supposed to say and when she says something she thinks it’s dumb and stupid. Lorrie addresses this issue in a very professional way as the lady latter on in the story overcomes anxiety. This opens the platforms which will explain the relevance of this in real life, anxiety is something everyone has experienced once in their lifetime, but what matters is how it affects someone and how to deal with it. In this anxiety is seen as a negative, this is because the lady beats herself over what to say to please the gentleman whilst doesn’t think of herself. There are people that will take advantage of more anxious people by taking their glory and dehumanize them, thus it is not advisable to show off anxiety especially to people we meet for the first time.

Lucy also covers the issue of anxiety by sowing how the lady panics to the extent she wants to throw up in the plane. She also wants to seat alone but this is not possible thus she experiences anxiety as she ponders herself who she’s going to seat with. To cover her anxiety she uses sarcasms to whoever makes her feel anxious, for example she refers to her neighbor as a hero but she does this in her head without saying it a loud.  The authors have brought out techniques such as flashback whereby in Lucy’s story we are taken back to redo the whole story again so as we can see it from a different perspective.

Speaker’s sensitivity to details

The two authors are very articulate when it comes to paying attention to details. This is seen when Lucy clearly explains the thoughts of the lady while in the airplane. We get to know the character in her, this actually helps us judge her according to the way the author wants us to view her as. She remembers in detail form her past experiences with soldiers as well as movies she has watched about them. The author through these striking details lets us into her heart so that we may understand the reason as to why she is anxious around this gentleman. However the details still go on to bring out the worst of her, these details enables us feel the sarcasms in her as well as the hatred she has on the first gentleman who was to seat with her yet they had never met before.

Lorrie has not been left behind in bringing out this characteristic of sensitivity and details in her story telling. She takes us step by step from the time the two meet at the bus stop to the movies, museum, and concerts and even to the point where they go to sleep together. This is brought out in a very detailed form, so as nothing is left to doubt. The author touches on very sensitive issues such as the gentleman and the lady hooking up over a very short period of time, this will normally raise so many questions like how, why but the authors is so keen on these minor details to the extent that no room for questions is left. Lorrie also describes facial expressions so that we get to feel the way the characters are feeling, this include describing a smile when the gentleman says something hilarious. This is to a certain extent applicable in real life whereby when writing an easy or describing your point to someone, the use of clear details and annotations is of paramount to get your point across.


As the report concludes there are remarkable similarities in the two articles as each one of them has contributed to the three subjects about control, anxiety and sensitivity to details by the author. This has thus brought about the issue of their relevance in real life, people need to learn to control their own life and what others say should be just an opinion but shouldn’t dictate one’s life. This is because they are those people who will only bring one down with negative comments, and if one is not in control of their life it may pose as a problem that will affect you and those surrounding you.

They two authors have used different approaches to describe these three aspects. Lucy has so far used flashback as well as flash-forward all in an attempt to make the reader see the whole story as written by him. It is also of paramount importance to acknowledge the use of suspense though not thoroughly used as other techniques it has helped bring out the characters behavior and attitude. Lorrie has also used the same techniques but is more specific when it comes to the disguise as the woman in this story is frequently compared with the previous woman who was with the gentleman.

The reader of these two stories is enlightened in various ways which may include some important virtues applicable in real life situations and not just in the stories. For example the act of adjusting with the environment, in both stories the ladies finally learn to live with their companions even though the first time they met they were filled with anxiety and uncertainty.


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