The story “Neighbors”

In the story “Neighbors”, a man and a woman’s true nature is revealed when nobody is watching. Bill and Arlene Miller are introduced as a normal, “happy,” middle class married couple, but they feel less important than their friends Harriet and Jim Stone, who live in the apartment across the hall. The Miller’s perceive the Stone’s to have a better and more eventful life. The Stones get to travel often because o Jim’s job, leaving their ca and plants n the care of the Millers. When the Stones leave on their vacation, the two families seem like good friends, but the depth of the Miller’s jealousy is revealed as a kind of obsession with the Stones’ everyday life.

The first night the Millers house sit, Bill tends to the cat, and then to his obsessive curiosity. He wanders through the Stone’s medicine cabinets, and steal a bottle of Harriet’s pills. This comes as a surprise to the reader because there is not any indication that Bill might act this way. Only after his curiosity is fulfilled does he carry out the rest of his house sitting duties by watering the plants. This shows that he is more concerned with his own needs than those or his neighbors. When Bill returns to his own apartment, arouse after being in the Stones’ apartment, he fondles his wife’s breasts and asks her if she wants to sleep with him that night. Here the reader can start to get a hint that Bill gets a sexual turn-on from being in the Stones’ apartment.

The following day Bill, still aroused, takes off work early so that he can come home and sleep with his wife. Later, Bill heads across the hall again to take care of his house sitting chores. After carrying out his duties of the cat and the plant, Bill snoops around opening cabinets, eating the Stones’ food and “found a half-empty package of cigarettes and stuffed them into his pocket.” Wondering what is taking her husband so long, Arlene comes to the Stones’ apartment and knocks on the door. Bill, trying to hide his snooping about, flushes the toilet to try to convince his wife that this is why he was taking to long. Here he realizes his strange nature, not wanting his wife to find him odd. When Arlene asks him why he has taken so long, Bill is completely unaware of the time that has past since he has been in thee apartment.

That next day, only the third day of the Stones’ vacation, Bill ha Arlene call him in sick at work. Bill decides to go for a walk, but when returning to his own apartment he passes by the Stones’ dot and is again overcome by the desire to be in the Stones’ place rather than his own. He now has uninterrupted time in their apartment. After entering his neighbor’s apartment, Bill takes time to notice the details of the room, letting them all sink in. He places Kitty, the Stones’ cat, into the bathroom and shuts the door to keep her out of the way. Lying on the Stones’ bed, Bill begins to touch him self and wonders if his neighbors will ever return. Here the reader is able to grasp a clear picture of Bill and realizes the depths of his strangeness. He then moves to the closet, trying on some of Jims’ cloths and helps himself to their liquor cabinet. After admiring himself in the mirror for a bit, Jim tries on one of Harriet’s outfits, including her undergarments. This shows what social pressure cause him to hid under normal circumstances.

That night Arlene goes over to the Stones to feed the cat and water the plants. After she is gone for awhile, Bill goes to goes to check on her. She tells Bill that she has found pictures, letting him know that she too has been going through the Stones’ belongings. Arlene then realizes that she had all together forgotten to feed the cat or water the plants, even more important she had left the apartment key inside and was locked out of the Stones’ apartment. This makes the reader aware that Bill is not the only character with strange tendencies. They both feel somewhat the same and want to enter the other couple’s life. This story shows how feeling of inadequacy can be hidden in poepleand how they can surface in odd obsessive ways under the right circumstances.

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