Plot Summary And Plot Curve Of “Janus” By Ann Beattie

Plot Summary:


“Janus” is the story of Andrea a real estate agent, who is unhappy in her life, and marriage. However Andrea has one thing in her life that seems to be the source of any happiness she possesses. That item is her bowl. The bowl becomes a strategic tool, within her career. Andrea uses this bowl to gain and maintain her success in selling houses. It is not too far into the story that it becomes apparent that the bowl is much more than just a bowl or a decorative peace, to Andrea. The bowl has an obvious symbolic meaning. As Andrea is married to a successful stockbroker who seems to be a decent man, it becomes clear that the marriage is unfulfilling. The origin of the mysterious and beloved bowl is revealed at the end of the story where we learn about Andrea’s lover. Andrea’s lover had bought her the bowl at a craft fair they had attended together, shortly before he left her due to her “two-faced” life.



Image taken from
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Beginning: The bowl is the first thing actually introduced in the story. The bowl is introduced as Andrea’s key to success.

Rising action: Andrea becomes even more successful because of her use of the bowl; she thinks about tell her husband about the bowl. The bowl is a huge secret and she is guilty for keeping the secret from her husband. This seems odd because it is just a bowl, why would you feel guilty about not telling your husband about a bowl?

Climax: The origin of the bowl is revealed. Andrea had been having an affair. Andrea’s lover had bought the bowl for Andrea as a gift; he had bought her many gifts. The affair ends shortly after the purchase of the bowl.

Falling action: Andrea never does tell her husband about the bowl; instead she continues to be “two- faced” and live her double life mysteriously admiring the bowl.





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