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Carnal Knowledge By T. Coraghessan Boyle Summary

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“Carnal Knowledge” by T. Coraghessan Boyle tells the story of the extreme lengths a person will go to find happiness and a place where they feel as if they matter. The story begins with Jim on his thirtieth birthday, alone on a beach with a sandwich and a pessimistic attitude towards the day, or even his life in general. He wakes up from a nap to a dog pissing on him and a beautiful girl running towards him. Conversation starts, yet his negative attitude remains when he thinks to himself sarcastically “as if dogs routinely piss on my wardrobe” (Boyle 308). The beautiful young girl named Alena invites him over to repay the debt and the adventure begins from there. After quitting his job, Jim finds himself a newly proclaimed animal activist. From screaming murder on the street at those who wear furs, getting cold cocked, and committing crimes including breaking and entering, and theft, Jim has become a completely opposite person from the meat eating, loner he was just days before. …show more content…
The simple answer is love. Jim finally feels accepted and wanted. He feels what he believes to be love for Alena and will do anything to get that feeling to continue. When Jim goes along with Alena and Rolfie, whom seems too close to Alena in Jim’s opinion, to liberate the turkeys, he gets stranded when the two leave in his own car. That night, he is stuck in the foggy and gloomy weather that represents how he feels towards the situation. At this point, I believe that Jim is starting to realize that he is in love with the idea of Alena and not Alena the person. However, they do come back for Jim in the morning allowing the belief that Alena wants to be with him to

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