Themes and message



One of the main themes explored in the short story “At the Clinic” by Sally Rooney is miscommunication. The theme is illustrated by Marianne and Connell, the main characters, who are unable to openly communicate their feelings. 

Although they have been friends since high school and know each other better than anyone else, Marianne and Connell do not communicate properly. Their inability to express their true feelings for each other makes them engage in conflicts. Because they do not discuss how they feel, their conflict affects both of them differently. For example, Connell recalls that Marianne’s comment about her jaw pain has led to an argument about her always complaining: 

A week previously Marianne gave him head in his apartment and complained afterwards that her jaw hurt, and he was like, do you ...

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