Essay: ‘Pool’ by Corey Campbell

The short story ‘Pool’ is about a couple – Darla and Jon.

One night during their intercourse the condom split unexpectedly. The next day, the couple is desperately searching for the morning-after pill and with success finds it in a Rite Aid pharmacy shop. The relationship between Darla and Jon are portrayed as complicated and problematic, because Darla feels miserable and many other reasons.
Throughout the plot, Darla reflects on her thoughts regarding her life; and moreover the advantages and disadvantages of each decisions she’ll take. All this is caused by her fear of settling down and becoming a mother.
In this essay, I will discuss the characterization of Darla, the relationship between Darla and Jon; the main theme; the ending; the setting; and message. These elements will lead to the final conclusion.

‘[…] Trevor and Mandy, who were hosting a pool party. The couple had set up house in the Valley, in a neighborhood of small square houses, guarded by iron fences, the homes of car thieves and newlyweds in their twenties still renting’. (p. 8, ll. 4-6) The short story took place in a pool party where we encountered Jon’s friends, Trevor and Mandy. The setting seemed to take place in a ghetto and it tells the reader about Trevor and Mandy’s economical situation, which makes the readers assume that they are from the middle class. The protagonist, Darla; and antagonist, Jon, spent most of their time in this particular area where the pool party is held.

”Sorry,’ Darla said. […] ‘For disturbing you,”. (p. 9, ll. 73-74) This reference states that Darla is a humble individual. Darla is a reserved and shy person and she usually answers back with short sentences. ‘Mandy kept her face at the baby’s. ‘We have extras. Don’t be shy.’ Jon said, ‘Yeah, Darla, don’t be shy.” (p. 11, ll. 134-135) Mandy and Trevor states that Darla is a shy individual, which is proven by this reference.

The main theme in this short story is about Darla’s miserable relationship with Jon. Darla doesn’t think that Jon has father potential if she gets pregnant by accident. In the couple’s relationship, Darla is the submissive one who won’t talk back to Jon (the dominant). Therefore Darla seems unhappy in her relationship with Jon, because he’s very immature and irresponsible.
Jon’s immaturity and irresponsibility occurs, whenever he drinks lots of beer and not thinking about being responsible and expects her to get both of them home safely. ‘[…] Jon was on his next beer, which was either number three or four. Darla never counted but just knew that later on she’d be the one driving’. (p. 10, ll. 99-101)
Darla can’t see a potential long lasting and stable relationship with Jon; ‘She thought of quicksand – if she were being dragged under, Jon would probably just stay there […].’ (p. 11, ll. 138-139)
This reference clearly shows that she doesn’t care about Jon: ‘Darla and Jon had been together just under a year.[…] What she liked best about him, Darla had realized earlier in the car, was that it wasn’t going to last, so she didn’t have to care that much really.’ (p. 8, ll. 10-13)
In one incident the couple were house-sitting and proved to be very disrespectful for the owner and at the same time immature. ‘She and Jon were house-sitters […] swimming naked in the pool and then having sex on couch covered in dog hair’. (p. 9 ll. 65-67)
In the ending of the short story, we see a daring Darla standing up for herself by taking her clothes off, which symbolizes dominance – that she’s tired of being the submissive one. She goes against her own manners, beliefs and values – in rebellion to Jon.

Darla and Jon were young and naive and being in love in one’s young years can sometimes be risky due to a blurred and delusional mentality. When the condom split, Darla got out of these delusions and finally realized that she was in a bad and unhealthy relationship, which is caused by her fear of pregnancy. Having a child is a major step towards adulthood. A person should be prepared for a lot of changes: prepared mentally – in the sense of maturity; should be financially stable and independent; should know how to prioritize things, for the sake of their family and child(ren). ‘It all changes with a kid’. (p. 11, l. 158) We can therefore draw the conclusion based on what’s mentioned, that Darla isn’t ready to face the reality, namely entering the life of an adult, and more specifically, parenthood.

The authors message is that before you can settle down and enter parenthood, you should have found the right person to spend the rest of your life with. In Darla’s case, she is uncertain about her current relationship, but if she finds the right guy, who cares for her, takes responsibility, is mature enough and last, but not the least, loves her for, who she is, despite her flaws and weaknesses. If this was the case every obstacle in her relationship will be easy to overcome and Darla wouldn’t fear to confront reality. She isn’t ready to settle down and enter parenthood, because she hasn’t found the right guy yet, but she eventually will.

Source: Essay UK -

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