Anointed with Oils

In: English and Literature

Submitted By 1362943
Words 493
Pages 2
October 16 2013
"Anointed with Oils"

In the short story, "Anointed with Oils" Alden Nowlan introduces Edith, who grew up in the shacks and is ashamed of her own family. She desperately tries to escape her past by moving far away and indulging in fancy perfumes. However she is constantly being reminded of her past when the smell of frying oils linger on her uniform from her job at the potato chip factory. The various oils represent the driving forces that pull Edith to her past and propel her to her future.

The rose scented perfume represents Edith's fantasy version of herself. Edith wants to be a sophisticated, beautiful woman that will one day be discovered by some wealthy producer. She believes that by constantly taking showers and scrubbing off the filth that lays on her skin, she will emerge a completely different person. " She thought of what the preacher in the Pentecostal Chapel north of the creek said about being washed in the blood of the lamb. One became a new person. Well she became a new person by washing in water." (p.1 paragraph 4) She becomes obsessed with creating a new identity for herself. She wants to be an Edith who reads etiquette books and splurges on french perfume. She does't want to be recognized as the poor girl from the shacks who has a drunk as a father. " She wanted to escape from the shacks. She wanted to move into a world in which only married women had babies, and in which men and woman stayed married forever." (p.2 paragraph 22) The perfume helped Edith imagine herself in this ideal world where she wasn't made fun or embarrassed of because of her family.

The scent of frying oils remind Edith of her past and it prevents her from moving forward. The "rancid butter" smelling Edith id directly parallel to Eddie, a girl who lives in a poor neighbourhood. Edith is constantly being bombarded with memories from her past. When…...

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