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The narrator of “The Urban Coop” story faces a similar predicament to that of the narrator in “Yesterday’s Whales” – she is with a man who is focused on his career and who is not interested in procreating, while she wants a child, as she comes to learn, desperately. So how does Bergman make this story different?

The motif in the story, the lens through which the narrator comes to define her desire to reproduce, is in this case her experience with her dog Zydo. Whenever she thinks of having a child, she doubts herself because of her guilt – she feels as if she has proven herself irresponsible by leaving him on the boat. Mac is the one who steps up and tells her that she can trust him, making her feel that they are doing this together. In “Yesterday’s Whales”, the man is the source of the narrator’s doubt. Malachi, through his actions, makes the narrator feel insecure, hence her “raw and stupid hope” (100). The motif in this story is the theme of motherhood in the narrator’s family, and this is what she looks to for guidance.

Also in “The Urban Coop”, the community garden which was Mac’s dream has become the narrator’s life. She is the one who sees to the day-to-day operations of the garden and who cares for those who take advantage of it. Bergman makes it seem as though the narrator feels close to her job but distant from Mac, while in the other story the narrator feels close to Malachi but distant from their work.

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