Little Johnny walks into his mother's room and catches her topless.

"Mommy, Mommy, what are those?" he says pointing to her breasts.

"Well, son," she says, "These are balloons, and when you die, they inflate and float you up to heaven."

Incredibly, he appears to believe this explanation and goes off quite satisfied.

Two days later while his mother is making tea, he rushes into the kitchen.

"Mommy, Mommy, Aunt Sandy is dying!"

"What do you mean?" says his mother.

"Well she's out in the garden shed, lying on the floor. Both of her balloons are out, Dad's blowing them up, and she keeps yelling, "God, I'm coming! God, I'm coming!"


While this story gives the reader the idea that these are simplistic, rural people, some guided by their selfish animalistic needs, one must raise questions about these individuals, gauging them from a better perspective to understand this entire situation:

1) In having intercourse nearby the father's own dwelling, the chance of getting caught seems fairly high, the risk fairly substantial. Are we to understand that these are adventurous people, whose regular, monogamistic copulation has grown mundane and has therefore created the desired attempt to (a) raise the excitement of the sexual act by engaging in it with another partner, (b) engage in said activity with a partner who is of close relation, and (c) do so near the very residence at which one of them resides, with their spouse in close proximity? Or (d) are they simply being careless, overcome by ill-thought lust?

2) The mother seems notably embarrassed/concerned about the physical make-up of her own body, hence her false explanation to her inquisitive son. We must ask ourselves why this character, a woman who has given birth (unless Johnny was adopted) and has most likely been to a physician's office for mammograms and various gynecological services, all of which involve a certain degree of nudity, displays reservations in answering a question for her son. What's more, the young man is obviously of an age where articulate questions can be asked and addressed properly. So we must seriously put into question the withholding of information. Is it due to religious reasons? The idea of a spoiled innocence? As we learn very little about the character, there is no real way to answer. Should the opportunity arise, a detailed background of the woman would be invaluable.

3) The child, Little Johnny, returns to his mother exclaiming that he holds the belief that his aunt is on the verge of death, misunderstanding her cries of pleasure.  But we must question if we are to believe that the young man heard only these two intercourse-related moans and simply watched the sexual act for a few, brief seconds. It seems implausible that (a) the child stayed for a small amount of time, particularly when witnessing something seemingly altogether new to him, something perhaps of quite a threatening nature, (b) the child, upon seeing the act and worried for his aunt's well-being, did not attempt to come to her aid or at least ask if he might be able to be of assistance, and (c) that he was not privy to even a slight amount of knowledge about the sexual act (though, from our discussion above concerning his mother, it seems that this might be a very real possibility).  It seems very possible that the boy understood what was occurring between his father and his aunt and was alerting his mother in order to punish his father for his infidelity.  Interviews with each party involved, now that the affair has been brought out into the open, might lead to a better understanding. 

4) Lastly, at the end of the story, we are left to worry about the mental well-being of the child from this point forward. Not only has he come to witness a traumatic act of deceit between his loved ones and the coming arguments and anger that are sure to arise from the situation, we must also worry that his mother will once again not be truthful with him. In such a household, which seems to be in the midst of a familial crisis, from his mother's unavailability to his father's negligence, the child will most likely remain confused about the events which have transpired. Building on this in the years that follow, we must realize that the boy will have aged in a world that has not offered him any explanation or reconciliation for any difficulties that have or will occur.  In his adulthood, he will most likely suffer from both abandonment issues and negligence in matters of responsibility, and be reserved in both romantic and peer relationships, all of which might take years to successfully evaluate in sessions mediated by a licensed therapist. 

(Next Week)

In next week's session we will concentrate our analysis on a story involving three men's experiences on a rural farm after their automobile breaks down. Our primary discussion will focus on their nationalities, each different, and how their individual national identities prompt them to engage in various means of intercourse with a farm-owner's virginal daughter, despite the father's insistence that she remain chaste and that his three visitors adhere to this, his only rule. It is our hope to discover why the men of Jewish and Italian descent achieve success through false proclamations, while equivalent results are not realized by the young man from Poland. 

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