Structure

The story “The Abortion” by Alice Walker revolves around several conflicts: Imani’s inner conflict about the abortion, the conflict between her and her husband, the conflict between the husband’s job and family life, and the conflict concerning women’s position in soc…

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Beginning

The short story begins in media res, conveying parts of a conversation between the characters regarding an abortion, hooking readers’ attention: “They had discussed it, but not deeply, whether they wanted the baby she was now carrying. ‘I don’t know if I want it,’ she said, eyes filling with tears.” 

The expo…

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Middle

The middle of the short story comprises the rising action and the climax. The rising action presents the way the abortion procedure affects Imani: “Her doctor whistled, and assured her she was all right, and carried the procedure through to the horrific end. Imani fainted some seconds before that.” 

Tension increases around the conflict Imani has with her husband’s attitude. First, Imani feels like he is unable to understand what she has been through: “There was no way to explain abortion to a man. She thought castration might be an apt analogy, but most men, perhaps all, would insist this could not possibly be true.” 

Imani asks her husband to undergo a vasectomy if he wants to sleep with her again (later on we find out that he does it).

Part of the rising action focuses on the memorial ceremony organized for Holly Monroe, a teenager who was killed five years before. …

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Ending

The falling action shows Imani and Clarence two years later, having an argument in which Clarence reproaches her for her lack of affection: “What is the matter with you? he asked. You never want me to touch you. You told me to sleep in the guest room and I did. You told me to have a vasectomy I didn’…

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