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Megan Mayhew Bergman’s “The Two-Thousand-Dollar Sock” is rich with the emotional complexity harvested from a dynamic familial relationship. The narrator and her husband Russ are impoverished; “[they] sleep on a borrowed bed and linens from [their] grandmothers.” Money doesn’t seem so important when you are young and in love with the world at your feet. When the narrator has her daughter, Poppy, she begins to see herself and her husband differently. Instead of having the narrator look at herself in the mirror, Bergman creates the narrator’s sense of self through her shadow. Generally speaking, mirrors represent vanity, but they are an actual projection of one’s appearance, whereas shadows are contorted, dark, and mysterious. By having the narrator’s body be represented through a shadow, Bergman shies away from the stereotypical and leaves room for the reader’s imagination. However, the narrator is still concerned with how she and her husband are aging. She reflects on how incredibly strong and vigorous her husband used to be. Bregman plays on the idea of equating youth to invincibility. Her husband is a vision of health and youth: “a big, rippled body, ripe and stone strong.”  As the story and time progresses, his career as a street fighter takes a toll on him and he eventually gets Parkinson’s disease and has to quit piloting. Money is a conspicuous theme in this story. Money can make all the difference in life-or-death situations, such as in the case of the narrator’s dog, Vito. The realization that she can’t pay for the the surgery to have the sock removed from Vito in order to save his life is the sum of all of the situations that she is powerless to change. She can’t change how she or her husband age, the fact that her daughter is more attached to Russ, or that Russ has Parkinson’s. She has, however, been lucky in the fact that she has a loving family that is willing to stick with her through all of these challenges.

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